11th seed and Japan’s number one male tennis player Kei Nishikori was upset by British qualifier Daniel Evans in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the US Open. This is the first time that Nishikori has bowed out of the round of 128 at a major tournament since the 2011 US Open. This is also the British number 3’s first win in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
Nishikori, who remained at number 12 in the ATP world rankings released today, said that because there was no pressure on the Brit, he played more aggressive. He admitted he was a little tight in that match and it’s always tough to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam, particularly since it was his goal to crack the Top 10 by the end of 2013. But this early loss will not help him much in becoming the first male Japanese tennis player to do so, having slipped from number 11 to 12 in the world rankings last month after several early exits in tournaments. There is enormous pressure for him to be the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam tournament and that may have played a role in his less than impressive performance in the US Open. He will now be concentrating on preparations for the Davis Cup World Group Playoffs against Colombia on September 13-15 in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, his female compatriot, Kimiko Date-Krumm also lost in the first round, beaten by Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 7-6 (7), who is 22 years younger than the veteran tennis player who was ranked as high as number four in the world back in 1992. But qualifier Kurumi Nara is keeping Japan’s hopes in the tournament slightly alive as she advanced into the second round in her US Open debut, beating Romanian Alexandra Cadantu 6-2, 6-2. She will have a tougher time in the next round as she faces another Romanian, 19th seeded Sorana Cirstea.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]
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