The first of the quarter finals in the 2014 US Open Men’s Singles get underway at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday, with another hot day in prospect.
Kei Nishikori has caused me no end of problems in this tournament so far, with his questionable fitness putting me off backing him against Milos Raonic and Leo Mayer.
I don’t think too many punters would have been on the 3-2 Nishikori win in the Raonic match given the weather conditions and the foot injury, but rather incredibly Kei now has an 8-1 record in five set matches in grand slams.
Yesterday’s bets went one from two after I chose the wrong one from the overs or the Gilles Simon win in the Frenchman’s match with Marin Cilic and for the second straight day ended up on the wrong side of a five setter.
There were no such problems for Tomas Berdych though, as the Czech cruised past the minus 4.5 game handicap in a straight sets win over Dominic Thiem.
The weather is set to be hot, but less humid at around 30C and around 35% humidity when Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka take to Arthur Ashe Stadium Court at around 20:00 UK time today.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Kei Nishikori
That eighth win in nine major five set matches has seen Nishikori through to this last eight clash with Wawrinka in what could be another survival of the fittest encounter.
Nishikori’s problems with his foot are well known – although no one really knows the extent of the problem – but Stan too had physical issues in his last match against Tommy Robredo.
That one was tough for Wawrinka and he could easily have lost it, with Robredo serving for the first set that he lost 7-5 and also having wasted set points in the third set.
During the match Wawrinka had the trainer out a few times for treatment on his groin and legs and he was also cramping, so his fitness doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence either.
The pair have faced each other across the net on two prior occasions, with Wawrinka winning both 2012 encounters on clay and hard, but Kei has improved since then and so has Stan, so I wouldn’t read too much into that.
Interestingly, the last player to finish at 02:26 at the US Open and end up winning was Philipp Kohlschreiber in 2012 and he went on to lose to Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets in his next match.
The German had an extra night’s rest, as that match with Tipsy was held over due to a rain delay, so it’s a fair assumption that the late finish killed him for the next match.
Punters have been backing Wawrinka since the prices came out and he’s currently a 1.55 shot, which might look good value if Kei is cooked, but I prefer the under 40.5 total games here at 2.10.
It’s tough to see either of these two going five sets in their respective conditions and surely if it is to be Wawrinka he’ll win it in fewer than 41 games against a likely exhausted and, who knows, probably injured opponent.
It’s a tricky one to call, with two players whose physical conditions are unknown and I’m not sure that the 1.55 appeals on Wawrinka, although that is the most likely outcome.
Back under 40.5 total games in Wawrinka/Nishikori at 2.10