Japan’s No. 1 male tennis player Kei Nishikori overcame World No. 7 Czech Tomas Berdych, 6-4, 7-5,on Saturday to win the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, a tune-up tournament to the Australian Open which begins on Monday. Nishikori is looking to better his 2012 quarterfinal finish in the year’s first grandslam tournament.
The victory was even sweeter for the World No. 17 as his newly-appointed coach, American legend Michael Chang, has won the tournament three tames during the late 90s. “I really enjoyed this week, I’m very happy to put my name on this trophy along with Michael,” said the 24-year-old Nishikori. He was actually not the one supposed to play Berdych in the finals but Frenchman Richard Gasquet withdrew from the match due to fatigue. Nishikori, who lost to Berdych 48 hours earlier in the semi-finals, was put back in the running for a chance to play in the finals against the Czech.
Berdych lost his opening serve early on and Nishikori took advantage of the lapse, going up 4-1. He won the set in 32 minutes, even as the Czech almost made a comeback in the opener. The second set was a closer match, and was tied at 5-5, but Nishikori managed to get the better of Berdych, who had an unbeaten record for 2014 until that final.
Nishikori had this to say after the final: ““It was a good match against Tomas—even if I lost to him a couple of days ago. Hopefully we will both have a good start at the Australian Open.” The Japanese ace will face Australian Marinko Matosevic in the opening round of the tournament which starts Monday.
[via Channel News Asia]
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