Cyprus Mail
ATP & WTA Tours Sport Tennis

Nishikori fends off Monfils, Kyrgios stuns Raonic

Nishikori had to save five match points before going on to defeat Frenchman Monfils

Kei Nishikori withstood a blistering early assault and saved five match points before battling past Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6 6-3 7-6(3) in a bruising quarter-final at the Miami Open on Thursday.

The Japanese number one will face 24th seed Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals after the Australian upset 12th seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6(4).

Sixth seed Nishikori appeared to have his match in control when leading 4-2 in the final set but his usually reliable forehand repeatedly let him down as he fell behind 4-5 0-40 on serve before mounting a gutsy fightback.

He saved four match points in that 10th game, and a fifth in the 12th, before racing into a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak as Monfils made a string of unforced errors, Nishikori finally sealing the win with a forehand crosscourt winner.

“When I was down 4-5 and 0-40, I thought I almost gave up the match,” Nishikori, 26, told ESPN in a courtside interview after an epic encounter between two of the most athletic players on the ATP World Tour that lasted two-and-a-half hours.

“But I tried to play one point at a time and tried to focus on what I had to do, especially my serve. In the tiebreak, I just tried to focus again and fight harder.”

Nishikori, who also reached the last four in Miami two years ago, was left reeling in the opening set as the 16th-seeded Monfils played high-risk, aggressive tennis right from the start, highlighted by an explosive service game.

“I was a little bit surprised how he played, especially the first couple of games,” said Nishikori.

“I was waiting for a little bit more long rallies and I wasn’t expecting to play that fast so I had to make some adjustment.”

Kyrgios took down his more fancied opponent in two sets to reach the last four for the first time in a ATP Masters 1000 event, riding a break in the first game of the match all the way to victory.

“I knew it would be a tough match. Milos has played great the last couple of weeks and the only person he’s lost to is Djokovic so I knew it would be a tough task,” Kyrgios said.

“I played really well out here, the crowd was a lot of fun, the atmosphere was really good and I thought the level of tennis was really good as well.

“To be honest I didn’t think I was going to break during the match but I broke him in the first game. I came out really energetic and I got pretty lucky and that definitely made me more relaxed and made me play my game a little bit easier.”

Related Posts

Brazil soccer legend Pele hospitalized again to treat colon tumor

Reuters News Service

Eight Tottenham players and five staff members positive for Covid, Conte says

Press Association

Changes made to Abu Dhabi circuit ahead of F1 season finale

Press Association

Serena out of Australian Open, Djokovic on entry list

Reuters News Service

No team will want to draw Ajax in Champions League, says coach

Reuters News Service

Klopp proud of Liverpool’s clean sweep in Champions League group

Reuters News Service