This was a great clash – we can hope for more of the same today
Kei Nishikori vs. Stan Wawrinka
These two have staged some battles in Grand Slam events. Kei won a 2014 tilt at the US Open that Wawrinka avenged at the 2015 Australian Open. Nishikori also beat Wawrinka in Cincinnati quite recently. Both players have improved as this tournament has progressed so I am not sure their form coming into this event matters much (including their match in Cincinnati).
Wawrinka has a power edge and certainly serves bigger than Nishikori. Kei takes the ball much earlier than Stan. That seems to help Nishikori on this type of hardcourt. Stan takes a full swing at the ball that may benefit from the slower bouncing hard courts in Australian. Kei may rob Stan of the time he needs for these big swings. Also, a faster court may help Kei hold serve more easily than he could in Australia. In that sense, Kei has an advantage.
Wawrinka has an advantage in terms of having won two majors in the recent past. I am not sure how important that is for this match, but Stan has fewer “what ifs” regarding his status as a major contender.
My Prediction: Kei Nishikori d. Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Confidence in my pick – Low – These two are pretty evenly matched and good reasons exist for thinking either of them wins this match.