Fourth seed Kei Nishikori takes on 17th seed Jack Sock in the Men's singles quarter-final of 2017 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Friday evening.
The world number five demolished United States' Donald Young in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 to set up the quarter-final clash with another American, who survived a three-setter against Malek Jaziri 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 yesterday.
Nishikori faces a tough test against his lower-ranked quarter-final opponent, who has been leading the Men's singles campaign for the United States in the recent past. The world number 18 defeated four top-10 players last season and has begun 2017 two titles - at Auckland and Delray Beach, with the latter coming after world number four Milos Raonic pulled out of title match. However, in the ongoing tournament, which has seen top stars fumble early, Sock has been consistent, decimating world number 13 Grigor Dimitrov as early as in the second round.
On the other hand, Nishikori has had an agonising start to the new season in which he first lost the final in Brisbane to Dimitrov and ran into an in-form Roger Federer at the quarter-final of Australian Open. However, he was well set to secure his first title of the year in Buenos Aires but the Japanese sensation suffered a shock defeat to world number 64 Alexandr Dolgopolov in the title match.
It will be important for Nishikori to put behind the heartbreaks and make best use of early exits of big names in the ongoing tournament but he has to be at his best to fend off Sock's challenge tonight.
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