The Wimbledon champion has beaten world No7 Nishikori in seven of their last eight meetings, including a straight-sets win as part of his successful Olympic gold medal defence in Rio last month.
But Murray, who has won or finished runner-up in his last seven tournaments, expects a tough assignment in Nishikori, who beat world No1 Novak Djokovic on his way to the final at Flushing Meadows in 2014.
“I have played well against him in the past but he likes these conditions,” said Murray, who ruthlessly despatched Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 on Monday night.
“He plays well in New York, his only slam final was here, he beat Novak here. He’s obviously playing pretty well this summer, he played some good stuff at the Olympics, won the bronze there.
“I played a really good match against him when we played a few weeks ago and I’m aware I’ll need to do that again if I want to beat him. He’s one of the best players in the world and plays extremely well on hard courts so it’ll be very, very tough.”
Murray recorded his fastest ever serve of 141mph as he beat 22nd seed Dimitrov 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Victory over Nishikori would set up a semi-final with either world No3 Stan Wawrinka or a resurgent Juan Martin del Potro, whom the Scot defeated in an epic Olympic final last month.
Murray in line for Davis Cup return
Murray and Del Potro could meet again in Glasgow next week after the world No2 was named in Great Britain’s squad for the Davis Cup semi-final against Argentina.
He missed July’s quarter-final win over Serbia following his exertions at Wimbledon but has been named in an initial five-man party alongside Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans, Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.