ATP Rotterdam quarterfinal preview: Borna Coric vs Kei Nishikori
Photo: Henk Seppen

Borna Coric faces Kei Nishikori in an unexpected quarterfinal matchup at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

Coric began the event by defeating Dutch wild card Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-4, 7-6 (4) and followed that up with an excellent performance against Dusan Lajovic, routing the Serb 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.

Couric's main weapon from the baseline will be his backhand/Photo: Henk Seppen/BSR Agency/Getty Images
Couric's main weapon from the baseline will be his backhand/Photo: Henk Seppen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Nishikori has had a far tougher road to the last eight, having to defeat seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3), 6-1 in the first round and Alex de Minaur 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in round two.

This is the second career meeting between Coric and Nishikori with the Japanese winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of Tokyo in 2015.

The match will lead off the night session with the winner facing either qualifier Marton Fucsovics or unseeded American Tommy Paul in the semifinals.

Assessment

Coric is the rare player who plays a defensive style, relying on wearing his opponents down from the baseline and playing lots of long rallies, but also possessing a strong serve that he can use to win free points when he needs to.

The problem for the Croat in this matchup is that Nishikori has a strong forehand and while it won't overpower Coric, it's the side the Japanese will look to pick on as well the second serve of the world number 26.

Nishikori will look to his forehand to do damage/Photo: John Berry/Getty Images
Nishikori will look to his forehand to do damage/Photo: John Berry/Getty Images

Nishikori will also look to be more offensive and take the ball early so he can dictate the rallies and change the angle and direction of the ball while Coric will need to stay primarily on his backhand wing. Both men also are excellent movers around the court.

Analysis

This is a match that can go either way. Both players have a lot of confidence and will view this as an opportunity to reach the semifinals and possibly the final with Fucsovics or Paul waiting in the next round.

The courts are playing slow, which suits both men, so that isn't much of a factor, but Nishikori has beaten better competition so far and for that reason, he's the pick to win this match.

Prediction: Kei Nishikori in three sets

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