Though the first and the third-seeded players did not make the semifinals at the New York Open, New Yorkers will definitely settle for the top seed and the fifth seed. Top-seeded Kevin Anderson will face fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori for a spot in the final of the New York Open. The winner will meet the victor of the other semifinal between second-seeded Sam Querrey and fourth-seeded Adrian Mannarino.
Nishikori dominates the head-to-head, leading 5-1 over the South African. They met twice last year, once on clay and once on hard courts. Nishikori eased to a victory at the Miami Open but was made to fight for his win in Geneva, coming from a set behind to take the match.
Anderson picked up his lone win against Nishikori three years ago. Two tiebreak sets at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, including a 12-10 opening set breaker pushed the South African to the victory. They have one career semifinal meeting in Acapulco back in 2015. The Japanese took that one in three sets.
New York Open Results
Being the fifth seed, the Japanese missed out on a bye meaning he would have to play from the get-go. He met American wildcard, Noah Rubin, first who he dispatched in straight sets and followed up his victory over the ever-tricky Evgeny Donskoy to reach the quarterfinals. He surpassed his quarterfinal test against Radu Albot, coming from a set down to reach the semifinal stage.
Top-seeded Anderson had a bye so started his tournament in the second round. He had to come from behind to get his tournament going, defeating Ernesto Escobedo. His quarterfinal match was against another rising American star, Frances Tiafoe. The South African took the opener but had to win in three. He went a break up late in the third but fought from 0-30 down trying to close out the match to get the victory.
This week has been nothing but positive signs for Nishikori in his return to the tour after his long injury layoff with a wrist injury. The groundstrokes still at times look a little shaky, with the forehand still being his weaker side, but his backhand looks to be getting better and better as the days progress.
Anderson has to be pleased with his progress so far this tournament, battling from adversity a few times to get to this semifinal point. His power game could be the key to keeping the 2014 US Open finalist off balance.
As Adrian Mannarino said, courts are playing slow here in New York which could favor Nishikori in this matchup. With that being said, it should be a close affair.
Prediction: Anderson in three sets