Verdasco vs Nishikori 05.06.17

French Open, Roland Garros, France, Clay Courts, ATP

Latest posts by Tennis Purist (see all)

Today sees us take a look at the mouth-watering Round 4 match up between Spanish world number 37, Fernando Verdasco and the Japenese world number 9, Kei Nishikori at the French Open, Roland Garros. I’ve decided to slightly change the layout of today’s post in an attempt to break up the text a bit, I welcome any feedback.

Previous Meetings:

These two have met 5 times, with Nishikori leading the head to head 3-2. They have played twice before on clay and both have a win a piece, Nishikori did however win their most recent clay court encounter last year in this very tournament. It was a three and a half hour, five set marathon in which Verdasco came from two sets down to force a decider, which unfortunately for him, the Japenese star took 6-4. Nishikori also won their most recent clash on the hard courts of Miami back in March this year, this again went the distance, with Nishikori winning 7-6 6-7 6-1.

French Open Results So Far…

Both players have shown mixed form this week, and both have played a four and a five set match. Verdasco had a fantastic win against the man of the moment right now, Alexander Zverev in Round 1, 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2. In Round 2, the Spaniard battled past home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert in a three and a half hour, five set epic. The Spaniard came from two sets to one down to win the fourth 6-3 and the fifth by an identical scoreline. Verdasco then took another notable scalp in the last Round, beating the Uruguayan clay-courter, Pablo Cuevas in straight sets 6-2 6-1 6-3 in a little over an hour and a half. The victory over Cuevas is probably the best performance i’ve seen from Verdasco for well over a year, it will be interesting to see if he can reach anything like that level again today.

Nishikori started his campaign by beating the returning Thanasi Kokkinakis in four sets, the Japenese superstar did drop the first but took the following three with relative ease. Round 2 was a straight forward win against a very disappointing Jeremy Chardy, who never really turned up despite being cheered on by the home fans, the Frenchman was soundly beaten 6-3 6-0 7-6. In the last Round Nishi faced the new rising star to come out of Asia, Hyeon Chung. Nishi took the opening two sets, before Chung fought back to take the match into a decider, it was Nishi who held his nerve though taking it 6-4.

Serving Stats:

Verdasco this tournament has won 64% of his service points and held serve 81% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 63% service points won and 77% service hold. Verdasco has been using his lefty serve to great effect this week, and it could well cause Kei some problems today if he keeps his first serve % high.

Nishikori this tournament has won 66% of his service points and held serve 83% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 64% service points won and 80% service hold. Nishi has also been serving well this week, it’s by some way the weakest part of his game and if he does start rolling that vulnerable second serve in, Verdasco can capitalise.

Returning Stats:

Verdasco this tournament has won 46% of his return points, 47% of his break points and opponents have held serve 61% of the time against him. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of, 41% return points won, 43% break points won and 70% opposition hold. The Spaniard has been very aggressive off the return in his previous matches, if he continues in that vein today he stands a good chance in the Nishi service games.

Nishikori this tournament has won 40% of his return points, 42% of his break points and his opponents have held serve 75% of the time against him. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 41% return points won, 46% break points won and 70% opposition hold. Nishikori will look to attack off the return, but with Verdasco swinging a lot of serves onto his backhand, he won’t find this as easy as he does when playing right-handers, something to keep an eye on.


Both players are very attacking off both wings, so i don’t anticipate too many long rallies. Nishikori is certainly the more consistent, but with Verdasco hitting his lefty forehands predominantly into the Nishikori backhand, the Japenese player may find it slight more difficult to hit through the Spaniard off that side. Both players are fantastic movers, so expect plenty of athletic defence also.


This has the potential to be the match of the tournament so far, if both players bring their A game. It will be interesting to see how much Nishikori’s five-setter took out of him physically, especially given that Verdasco has had a two day break. If both players play their best, Nishikori should prevail, however if Verdasco plays like he did against Cuevas and Nishikori isn’t 100% on it then we could well see the Spaniard reach the Quarter Finals. Sit back, watch and enjoy…

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