Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Kei Nishikori: Your Expectations for 2013
Kei had an injury marred 2012 but still had a very decent year, with QFs in Australia and Olympics and his first 500 title in Tokyo, and some very good wins. 2013 should be much better from one of the most promising, if not the most promising, young talents around. What do you guys expect from Kei?
First of all, I expect him to play a full season healthy, which would already be breaking new ground and would allow him to make big strides. I also expect him to make steady improvements on his game, namely his serve and defensive shotmaking, which are the two areas he most needs to improve.
At AO, a #19 seed isn't ideal, but I'd expect him to reach at least round 4 beating a 9-16 seed in round 3 and maybe repeat a QF showing if he draws Ferrer, Tsonga or Berdych in R4.
The North American swing and especially the clay season were a write off for Kei last season, plagued with injuries - he had so skip Rome, Madrid and RG and wasn't in top form for the other events. This year, I'd expect solid showing in IW and Miami and a solid clay season too - he has shown that he can play on clay. I hope he can build up his ranking during this stretch so he can enjoy some better draws in the second half of the season on grass and North American hardcourts. Getting as high as #12 would really help as he'd be facing Berdych, Tsonga and Ferrer in the lst 16 of events, opponents he definitely likes to face.
I expect him to play well on all surfaces and win 2 or 3 titles at the 250 and 500 level and to do well at Masters and Slams too. Making a first Slam semi might be too big a breakthrough for 2013 (although it's not out of the question with a good draw), but a couple of QF showings should be achievable. He should reach the top 10 with a decent chance of making it to the O2 with a strong end of the season and position himself to be a stronger contender in 2014. Much will depend on how long he takes to make it to the top 12, since a top 12 seed will help him with draws tremendously.