Best of 5 2017 Australian Open Men’s Day 7 Predictions Including Federer-Nishikori

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Roger Federer of Switzerland (L) shakes hands with Kei Nishikori of Japan (R) after his victory in their men's singles match on day five of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 19, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Men’s round of 16 play starts today. Steen Kirby, Jeff McMillan, and Ricky Dimon are on hand to take you through the four men’s matches, offering their analysis and expert prediction, including for the Roger Federer vs. Kei Nishikori clash.

(1)Andy Murray vs. Mischa Zverev

Steen: Despite Zverev’s late career resurgence, the gap between Murray and Mischa in best of five sets is still huge. Murray could have a bad day, but having not dropped a set so far, the world #1 should make quick work of the serve and volleyer, who Murray has the game to keep away from net. Murray in 3 sets

Jeff: Not to be outdone by his little brother, Mischa Zverev has played an inspired tournament. The reward for his fine play? A date with world #1 Andy Murray, who has been playing better than anyone in the world for the last half year. Murray has rolled along pretty well so far. A couple thing that will be interesting about this match up is the lack of familiarity between the two players (have only played once before) and the different style of play that Mischa will bring to the court. I expect the change in style will keep things close for a bit but ultimately Murray will be way too much. Murray in 3

Ricky: A fourth-round performance at a Grand Slam is, of course, already a smashing success for Zverev. In fact, it marks the 29-year-old German’s first such appearance. “He plays a very different game style to most of the guys now,” Murray said of his upcoming adversary. “He’s serve-volleying, coming forward as much as possible…not with the most powerful game. He doesn’t serve [big] but places it well. People say you can’t play that way any more and be successful, but he’s done that the last few months.” What you really can’t do is have success against Murray as a serve-and-volleyer. Although the top-ranked Scot can beat just about anyone from the baseline, too, there is nothing he loves more than having a net-charging opponent who gives him a target. No matter how well Zverev serves, passing shots will be whizzing past him on a consistent basis. This as been a great run for Zverev and he won’t go away without a fight, but Murray will cruise. Murray in 3

(17)Roger Federer vs. (5)Kei Nishikori

Steen: Nishikori has been shaky on serve at times this tournament, while a fresh Federer thrashed Tomas Berdych when he had break point chances in tehir round 3 match. Kei has a shot in this one, but Federer should be the favorite despite the ranking game. The Swiss maestro is fit and focused. Federer in 4

Jeff: We come to the creme de la creme of the 4th round. This is one of the best 4th round clashes ever with both players playing very sharp at the moment. Federer opened some eyes with his demolition of Berdych in the 3rd round and Nishikori looks to have righted the ship after his tense 1st round match. I could see this one going either way. The real key will be just how ready is Federer for the level of hitting and timing that Nishikori will bring. It has been several months since he has faced anything like it. Nishikori in 4

Ricky: Like he often does in majors, Federer mostly sleepwalked past two qualifiers in the first two rounds. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Actually, it wasn’t even tough even though the 35-year-old Swiss got a bad draw on paper in the form of Tomas Berdych in the third round. It was supposed to be; but it wasn’t. Federer hammered Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in a lightning-quick one hour and 30 minutes and the 17-time Grand Slam champion was every bit as awesome as the scoreline suggests. He is 3-0 in his last three matches against Nishikori and 4-2 overall. As good as Nishikori is (No. 5 in the world), he is–with a few exceptions–one of those guys who rarely loses when he isn’t supposed to lose but rarely wins when he isn’t supposed to win. Well, just watch Federer’s last three sets of tennis to know that Nishikori isn’t supposed to win this one. Federer in 4

(4)Stan Wawrinka vs. Andreas Seppi

Steen: Wawrinka has build a solid h2h against his fellow veteran, and a steady Seppi is likely to be gassed. Credit to the Italian for reaching the second week after a long first week, but Wawrinka’s weapons should put him away. Wawrinka in 3

Jeff: Like M Zverev, Seppi has played a similarly inspired tournament to make an unexpected 4th round run. Wawrinka has been shaky at times but still has been strong enough to make it into the 4th round. It has been quite a while since Seppi has defeated Wawrinka and even though he is playing very well and will likely hang with Stan, he does not have enough firepower overall to really threaten Wawrinka with an upset. Wawrinka in 4

Ricky: By his own admission, Wawrinka is way better at the latter stages of Grand Slams than he is at the beginning. So it should come with no real alarm bells that the 2014 champion went to five sets with Martin Klizan in round one and came within one point of going to five sets with Viktor Troicki on Friday. Seppi’s run to the last 16 has come from just about out of nowhere, as the veteran Italian was a borderline disaster throughout 2016. And the road hasn’t been easy. Back-to-back tough tests against Nick Kyrgios (Seppi saved one match point) and Steve Darcis may have taken something out of him. Now into the proverbial second week, Wawrinka should pick up the pace. Wawrinka in 3

(12)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Dan Evans

Steen: Evans has been firing on all cylinders, especially from the backhand side. The new top 50 player is a force to be reckoned with and can’t be counted out in this match. Tsonga has had a solid tournament thus far, and his aggression should bother Evans, but I have to go with an upset and pick the Brit red-hot momentum. Evans in 5

Jeff: This match will be one of the more entertaining ones of the 4th round. Both of these players play a fun entertaining style of play and will be clashing for the first time. Evans has taken out Cilic and Tomic and came one point from ending Wawrinka’s grand slam run at the US Open last year. Tsonga has more variety and ability at the net than any of those three opponents, so it will be a different type of challenge for Evans and he will not be the only one pushing the action forward on the court. This one will be a 5 setter. Tsonga in 5

Ricky: Evans was no stranger to the third round of Grand Slams, and he played like someone who had been there before against Bernard Tomic on Friday night. The stage will be even bigger on Sunday, even though he is not facing an Aussie this time around. Although Tsonga is by no means the toughest possible fourth-round draw for Evans, it won’t be easy. The 2008 runner-up is a proven force Down Under and he made relatively convincing work of a red-hot Jack Sock in round three. Evans is playing by far the best tennis of his career these days and he won’t end his best slam run ever without a fight, but Tsonga will be too fearsome of a foe. Tsonga in 4

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