Tokyo Olympics 2021: Men's Quarterfinals: Djokovic, Medvedev, and Zverev in action
A blockbuster line-up of tennis quarterfinal matches awaits the fans at the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Novak Djokovic’s bid for the golden slam record continues.
The Next-Gen trio of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and Karen Khachanov join him in the last eight. The French duo of Jeremy Chardy and Ugo Humbert, home favorite Kei Nishikori and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta take the remaining 4 spots.
Sportco previews the 4 juicy tennis quarterfinal clashes and gives the prediction of the likely winners.
1) Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori
Djokovic leads the H2H 16-2
- Nishikori’s last win against Djokovic on hard courts was in the US Open semifinals 2014. The Japanese star has lost 15 matches in a row to Novak.
- Djokovic is yet to drop a set at Tokyo after 3 matches.
- Kei Nishikori won the bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics. He has a chance to retain it if he beats Novak Djokovic in the quarters.
Djokovic blew away the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the 3rd round. The World number 34 who trains regularly with the Serb had said “Djokovic is beatable” before the match.
However, the World number 1 handed Fokina a big lesson with a ruthless scoreline of 6-3 6-1. Overall, the top seed fired 9 aces and smashed 10 winners. He landed almost 94% of his second serves in (15/16).
Nishikori saved 2 set points against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka in the first set. The homeboy eventually won it by a tight margin of 7-6(7). Both players also took 50 points each.
However, the former World number 4 shifted gears in the second set. The Japanese bageled an inconsistent Ivashka to storm into the quarterfinals. Despite a strong second serve, Nishikori will be concerned with his unforced error of 27.
Novak Djokovic may drop a set if Kei Nishikori plays lights-out tennis. The Serb has never lost to the Japanese player in the last 7 years. The first set will be crucial for Kei. Expect the World number 1’s superior serving to take him through.
Tokyo Olympics Tennis Quarter-Final Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in three sets against Kei Nishikori.
2) Daniil Medvedev vs Pablo Carreno Busta
Medvedev leads H2H 3-1
Important fact: Medvedev has never beaten Busta on outdoor hard courts. The Russian lost in straight sets to the Spaniard in the 3rd round of the Indian Wells Masters in 2018.
Both Medvedev and Busta are right-handers with two-handed backhands.
Medvedev fought past the mercurial Fabio Fognini 6-2 3-6 6-2 in the 3rd round. It was his 4th win in a row against the Italian. The Russian struggled with the hot conditions in Tokyo. He also took a 10-minute cold shower after the 2nd set after the ITF’s Extreme Heat Rule came into place.
He was exhausted after the 2-hour 25-minute battle. Overall, the second seed hit just 8 winners and leaked 40 unforced errors.
Carlos Ramos (Umpire): Are you ok? Can you finish the match?
Daniil Medvedev: "I can finish the match, but I can die, if I die, who will take responsibility?’’
On the other hand, Pablo defeated the tricky Dominik Koepfer 7-6(7) 6-3 in 115 minutes. The Spaniard survived a close opening set. Busta took 47 points compared to 45 for Koepfer. Interestingly, both players committed an equal number of unforced errors (22 each) in the 69-minute first set
The 30-year-old halved his unforced error count to 11 in the second set. He pounded 8 winners and took all 5 points at the net.
Though Medvedev may be worn out, he still has the weapons to overcome Busta. The Russian is a warrior on the court and will be victorious in another 3 setter.
Tokyo Olympics Tennis Quarter-Final Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to win in three sets against Pablo Carreno Busta.
QF 3: Alexander Zverev vs Jeremy Chardy: Zverev leads H2H 4-1
- Chardy has never beaten Zverev on outdoor hard courts.
- Zverev’s last loss to the Frenchman was in the round of 32 at the Kuala Lumpur Open in 2015.
- Chardy is the oldest singles quarterfinalist (34) in Tokyo Olympics amongst the 8 players.
Zverev overcame Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 7-6(5) in the 3rd round. The German notched up his 3rd victory in a row on outdoor hard courts against the Georgian.
It was a perfect match for the World number 5. Sascha did not commit a single double fault, fired 11 aces, and committed just 11 unforced errors when compared to Basilashvili’s 22. The Next-Gen star also took 83% of net points and 80% of second serve points.
Chardy beat the giant-killing Liam Broady 7-6 4-6 6-1. The Frenchman’s big serve (11 aces) and 24 winners helped him clinch the match despite 32 unforced errors. The 68th-ranked Jeremy Chardy is on a roll in Tokyo as he was never expected to go deep.
It is a tough call as both are big servers, right-handers, and possess two-handed backhands. Alexander Zverev has a better cross-court forehand and that could make a difference against Chardy who is a decade older than him.
Tokyo Olympics Tennis Quarter-Final Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in straight sets against Jeremy Chardy
4) Karen Khachanov vs Ugo Humbert
This is their first meeting on the ATP Tour
Khachanov played terrific tennis to oust the higher-ranked Diego Schwartzman in 3 sets. The Russian defeated the World number 13 6-1 2-6 6-1. The 25-year-old hit 13 aces and pounded 18 winners in 2 hours. He also took 73.07% of points on his first serve.
Meanwhile, Humbert stunned the World number 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in 3 sets in the 3rd round. Despite losing the opening set 6-2, the Frenchman leveled the proceedings by taking the second set 7-6(4).
The decider was one-way traffic as Ugo grabbed it 6-2 to knock out the Greek. The World number 28 had some solid numbers (8 aces, 22 winners, 77.58% of first-serve points won, and 92.30% of points won at the net). But, Humbert will be worried about his huge unforced error count of 39.
The fans can expect some breathtaking shotmaking from the two Next-Gen sensations. Both Khachanov and Humbert use two-handed backhands. However, the Russian is a right-hander while the Frenchman is a leftie.
Tokyo Olympics Tennis Quarter-Final Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in 3 sets against Ugo Humbert
So dear fans, who among the 8 men do you pick to win in the high-octane quarterfinals? Do let us know your preference in the comments below.
Featured Image Credits - Getty Images
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