Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Comeback kids to meet at second straight Masters 1000 event

Ricky Dimon in ATP 17 May 2018
  • Djokovic vs Nishikori is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00am BST
  • Djokovic, who beat Nishikori in Madrid, is through to his first quarterfinal of the entire season
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 07: Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands at the net after his victory over Kei Nishikori at the Mutua Madrid Open on May 7, 2018. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori will be facing each other at a second consecutive Masters 1000 event when they battle in the Rome quarterfinals on Friday.


Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00pm BST 
Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Novak Djokovic is picking up some much-needed momentum--and not a moment too soon. Not only is the French Open barely more than a week away, but Djokovic also would have slipped out of the top 30 in the rankings for the first time since 2006 had he failed to reach the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The world No. 18, who has 600 points to defend from last year's final appearance, had won back-to-back-to-back matches only once this entire season (at the Australian Open) prior to his arrival in Rome. But he has suddenly recovered something resembling his form of old and has used it to defeat Alexandr Dolgopolov, Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas all in straight sets.

Djokovic played especially stellar tennis most of the way on Thursday against Ramos-Vinolas, the same opponent whom he beat in Australia for a third straight win there and a berth in the fourth round (he eventually lost to Hyeon Chung). The Serb's lone hiccup on Thursday came when he failed to serve out the contest at 5-4 in the second set, but he rebounded quickly to prevail 6-1, 7-5.

ATP Rome Live Stream: Live tennis from the Foro Italico

Kei Nishikori hits a backhand in Rome. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Djokovic's reward is a 15th career encounter with familiar foe Kei Nishikori. The two veterans just squared off at last week's Madrid Masters, where Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 6-4. He has now won 11 matches in a row at Nishikori's expense dating back to the fall of 2014 and leads the overall head-to-head series 12-2. Djokovic is a perfect 5-0 in the series on clay, including 2-0 at the Foro Italico (6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the 2015 quarterfinals and 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the 2016 semis).

Making his own comeback from injury problems, Nishikori finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo last month. Finding success at yet another Masters 1000 tournament, the world No. 24 booked his spot in the Rome quarters thanks to victories over Feliciano Lopez, Grigor Dimitrov, and Philipp Kohlschreiber--surrendering one set to Dimitrov in the process.

"I wouldn't make an excuse of being in my comeback process anymore, because I reached the final in Monte-Carlo," Nishikori explained. "I've got my feelings and everything back; wanna cut down ups and downs to come back into top 10. It's gonna be important to win matches and go (to) later rounds (of tournaments)."

The former world No. 4 currently finds himself in a later round, but is his Rome run about to end? Other than Nadal, Djokovic is the last person Nishikori would want to face. Based on head-to-head history and the 12-time major champion's current form, Nishikori could be in for another tough day at the office against his nemesis.




Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 4:00pm local time/3:00pm BST
Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Comeback kids to meet at second straight Masters 1000 event

Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori meet for the 15th time in their careers at the Rome Masters. Djokovic just beat Nishikori in Madrid. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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