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Federer expects Nishikori to be threat

 

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

By Andy Sims

Roger Federer believes his Wimbledon quarter-final opponent Kei Nishikori is ready to challenge for Grand Slams.

The Japanese, who reached the US Open final in 2014, has moved seamlessly into the last eight for the second year running, but faces the toughest test of all against Federer on Centre Court today.

Nishikori is at least fit and firing, having often struggled with injuries in key matches in the past, and will have to be at his very best to stop the eight-time champion racking up a century of wins at SW19.

Federer, who has barely broken sweat on his way to the quarters, is wary though.

"I think it's going to be tough," he said. "He's getting into quarters with a lot of energy.

"I remember some of the Slams recently he arrived into the later stages with maybe some tough matches going into it. So far it's been really easy for him.

"I think he's ready. I'm a big fan of his game. I think he's got one of the best backhands in the game that we have right now.

"He's a great return player. Solid mentally. I always thought he was a great talent."

Nishikori knows the size of the task in front of him.

"I'm sure that I have to play good tennis to beat Roger, because he's the best player on the grass," he said.

"I think he seems to be playing good this week, last two weeks, so I'm happy to be playing Roger now because I think I'm in good shape now.

"I know it's not going to be easy, but I will enjoy for sure."

That is the standout tie of the quarter-finals of a men's draw that has again highlighted just how far ahead Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are from the rest.

Nadal is up against 2017 semi-finalist Sam Querrey, while Djokovic takes on David Goffin, who is enjoying his best ever run at Wimbledon.

Quarter-final debutants Robert Bautista Agut and Guido Pella face off in today's remaining quarter-final tie.

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