June 27, 2016

Kei Nishikori Four-Peats at Memphis Open

nishikori memphis

(February 14, 2016) Kei Nishikori captured his fourth straight Memphis Open title on Sunday beating 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4. The man from Japan now joins Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors as the only four-time winners of the event. In addition, Nishikori joins Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in winning a single tournament four times.

“It’s amazing to win four in a row,” Nishikori said. “I tried not to think about it too much this week. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. It was a tough start again today, but I managed it better. I played better tennis as the match went on and I’m happier with the second set. I only gave him a few points on my serve in the last few games.

“We practiced five or six times the past few years in California, so I know how he plays. I never beat him before, so I was happy to beat him in a match. I tried different tactics to make him move more. He has very good reach so it’s not easy to hit winners, especially on these slow courts. I had to finish the points strong with my legs. He was tough to play.

“I felt a lot of support even here in the US against an American. A lot of Japanese came out today.”
 
“I definitely didn’t expect to get to a (ATP World Tour) final so quickly,” Fritz said. “It’s a great accomplishment to get here despite losing in the final. I had a great week and I have to be happy with the result. I have a lot of confidence moving forward. I need to get my body stronger and I can continue to play at this level.

“He started off a little tentative and was leaving some balls for me to step in and hit. He was making some mistakes, but he loosened up and started playing much better. After a couple games, the balls get heavier and are tough to put away. Kei’s such a fast player and incredible from the baseline and when I don’t have that to put the ball away, he got extremely tough.”

This is Nishikori’s 11th ATP World Tour title.

For the young American Fritz, it was a career week playing in just his third ATP tour-level event. The teenager will move into the top 100 after becoming just the fifth 18-year-old American to reach an ATP World Tour final in the past 30 years joining Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Andy Roddick, and Pete Sampras.

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Kei Nishikori Three-peats at Memphis Open

Kei Nishikori Memphis 2014

(February 15, 2015) Kei Nishikori is the first man to “three-peat” at the Memphis Open, taking his third straight title defeating South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 in the final Sunday. For Japan’s Nishikori who is 10-2 this year, he earned his eighth career ATP title.

“I think I am going to move here soon,” Nishikori said during the trophy ceremony.

“It’s (an) amazing feeling because nobody ever done this before at this tournament, so it’s something special,” Nishikori continued. “But, you know, I think I have to do better to keep this, and hopefully I can keep going.”

For Anderson  who regularly practices with Nishikori, he has now has lost six straight finals.

It was a two-set win on Sunday, but the world No. 5 had three three-set battles en route to the final. In his the semifinal, Nishikori outlasted Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the longest match of the week at two hours, 42 minutes.

Tommy Haas, Todd Martin and Jimmy Connors (twice) all won Memphis titles in back-to-back years. This was just Nishikori’s fourth appearance in Memphis.

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Kei Nishikori Repeats as Memphis Champion

 

nishikori memphis

(February 16, 2014) Kei Nishikori repeated as the champion at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, stopping Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (0) on Sunday. For the No. 16 ranked player, this was his first career title defense. He is the first repeat winner since Tommy Haas won in 2006 and 2007.

“It’s amazing to defend a title for the first time, especially here,” Nishikori said. “I had a great memory from last year and I’m playing great.”

“I get a lot of confidence from keeping my ranking in the Top 20. It’s going to take some time to get to Top 10, Top 5, but I think I’m getting close.”

“He’s really fast,” Karlovic said. “He hits winners from any position on the court. That’s his game. He returned really well.”

“It was a good week for me. I’m really happy with the way I played. I hope I will continue like this and by the end of the year get into the Top 40.”

Nishikori was given a wild-card into this tournament, which this year was downgraded to 250 event, it was a 500 point event a year ago when he won.

This is Nishikori’s sixth ATP title.

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