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Ricky’s Picks For Wednesday’s U.S. Open Quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Millman, Cilic vs. Nishikori

Kei Nishikori of Japan hits a return to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during the eighth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 03 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/COREY SIPKIN



Ricky’s picks for Wednesday’s U.S. Open quarterfinals: Djokovic vs. Millman, Cilic vs. Nishikori


By Ricky Dimon


Roger Federer is out, but Novak Djokovic remains in the bottom half of the U.S. Open draw. Djokovic will continue his campaign against John Millman during quarterfinal action on Wednesday. The only contest pits Marin Cilic against Kei Nishikori.


Ricky previews both matchups and makes his predictions.


(6) Novak Djokovic vs. John Millman

This was supposed to be Djokovic vs. Federer when the draw was revealed. But as Millman said, “that’s a great thing about tennis, that’s the great thing about sport: there’s always upsets that can happen.” A monumental upset did happen on Monday night, as the 55th-ranked Australian recovered from a set and a break down to shock Federer 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) for by far the biggest win of his career. Millman had never even been to round four of a slam in his career, but the 29-year-old earned his shot at the 20-time Grand Slam champion by beating Jenson Brooksby, Fabio Fognini, and Mikhail Kukushkin.


Millman’s reward is another night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium, this time for a second date with Djokovic. The two-time U.S. Open winner won their only previous meeting 6-2, 6-1 earlier this summer on the grass courts of Queen’s Club. Djokovic is an even more lopsided favorite this time, as his comeback from a 2017 injury now includes titles at Wimbledon and the Cincinnati Masters 1000. Maintaining his impressive form, the sixth-ranked Serb is back in the quarterfinals thanks to victories over Marton Fucsovics, Tennys Sandgren, Richard Gasquet, and Joao Sousa.


It will be difficult for Millman to bounce back from such a monumental occasion especially with Djokovic on the other side of the net, so expect one-way traffic.

Pick: Djokovic in 3


(7) Marin Cilic vs. (21) Kei Nishikori

Outside of the Big 5 (Stan Wawrinka included in there), Cilic vs. Nishikori is perhaps the best U.S. Open rivalry of the current era. These familiar foes have squared off 14 times heading into Wednesday, including three times in Flushing Meadows. Nishikori survived 5-7, 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 in a five-hour marathon in 2010, Cilic got the job done 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 two years later, and the Croat captured his first career major title with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 romp in 2014. Nishikori leads the head-to-head series 8-6 overall and 6-5 on hard courts.


Cilic was mostly dominant on his way to the quarters, thrashing Marius Copil, Hubert Hurkacz, and David Goffin without losing a set. But the world No. 7 endured one massive huge, overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Alex de Minaur’s 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round. Nishikori dropped just one set in defeats of Maximilian Marterer, Gael Monfils, Diego Schwartzman, and Philipp Kohlschreiber.


The Japanese star is aiming for his third career USO semifinal appearance, but Cilic still puts him to shame in terms of Grand Slam experience with runner-up performances at Wimbledon in 2017 and at the Australian Open this season to go along with his USO title. Those factors along with Cilic’s power that works extremely well in these conditions should allow him to survive a competitive contest.

Pick: Cilic in 4


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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