ATP Tour Finals: Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori match preview

A look ahead to the Group B match in the men’s singles

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The Independent Online

It may not have been one of the most glamorous seasons in Andy Murray’s career, but the Brit certainly did all he could to clinch the opportunity of competing in front of the home crowd at the O2 Arena.

Murray, who missed last year’s final due to back surgery and needed months to play himself back into top form, showed everyone what a real fighter he is winning three tournaments in a five-week span to secure a spot at the ATP Tour Finals.

The 14-month trophy drought ended in Shenzen, China, as he saved five-match points against Tommy Robredo in the final. The next two titles came in Vienna and Valencia (where he also saved five match points against Robredo in the final).

Can his amazing stretch of form take him to his first final of the season-ending event? He would first have to edge past Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic in what is widely perceived as the tougher of the two groups.

First up is the Japanese prodigy, who will be looking to better a 0-3 head-to-head record against Murray.

Nishikori has hit his career heights under Michael Chang this season, reaching his first Grand Slam Final in New York, becoming the first Japanese to do so.  He was also a runner-up of Madrid Masters, cushioned with four titles in smaller tournaments.

It seems like Nishikori’s toughest opponent this season was his own body as injuries haunted him in some of the crucial moments. The ATP Tour Finals will be a real test for Nishikori’s fitness as he revisits his most demanding rivals.

START: Sunday (Not before 2pm)

PAST MEETINGS:

2013- Brisbane (Hard) Murray won 6-4, 2-0 Ret.

2012- Australian Open (Hard) Murray won 6-3, 6-3, 6-1

2011- Shanghai (Hard) Murray won 6-3, 6-0

STATS:

The Brit, currently ranked 6th fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2008 earlier this year.

On 26 October Murray won the longest three-set final of the year (3h19min) against Tommy Robredo, saving five championship points in Valencia Open.

In September at the US Open Murray notched his first win against a top-10 player (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) this season.

Nishikori finished the 2013 season ranked 17th and broke into the top 10 for the first time in May 2014.

ODDS:

Murray to win 1.46

Nishikori to win 3.1

TV: BBC Two

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