It was a straight sets win for World Number 1 Rafael Nadal, but Japan’s top male tennis player Kei Nishikori gave him a run for his money in their fourth round match yesterday at the Australian Open. The two played for three hours and 17 minutes under the sweltering heat and the match ended 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).
Nishikori, who recently got former French Open champion Michael Chang as his coach, pushed Nadal the entire match. Several times he was on the brink of taking a set off the Spaniard, but was unable to capitalize on the big points. “Kei played a fantastic match. Just a few mistakes in some moments that were tough ones. But he played very aggressive, he went for his shots,” Nadal told the press after the match. Nishikori, seeded 16th in the tournament, broke his serve four times and had the better serve the entire match winning 76% of first serve points. However, the Japanese had 22 forehand errors and lost his serve five times and Nadal made sure he paid for those costly mistakes.
It was a tough fourth round draw for the World No. 17, who was trying to better his 2012 Australian Open performance when he reached the quarters. He was coming off a tune-up tournament win when he beat Czech Tomas Berdych for the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne earlier this month. Despite several complaints about the warnings he received from the chair umpire, Nadal was all praises for Nishikori, who said it’s always tough to play him in different surfaces. The 13-time Grand Slam champion also called Kei a “potential top 10 player” and considered their match a great victory for him as he tries to add another title to his career.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan