Nishikori rides high after deep run at Tokyo Olympics


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – tennis – men’s singles – quarter-final – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 29, 2021. Japan’s Kei Nishikori in action during their quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia. REUTERS/Edgar Su

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TORONTO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Japan’s Kei Nishikori is still on course after reaching the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics and said on Tuesday he attributed the deep run to his recent form in North America as that he is preparing for the US Open.

Nishikori, who was Japan’s last hope for a singles tennis medal in Tokyo, reached the semifinals last week in Washington and is now in the second round of the Masters 1000 in Toronto after a 6-4 6-7 ( 5) 6-2 win over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

“I feel like from the Olympics I…start to play better,” said 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nishikori, whose run in Tokyo ended in a loss to world number one. Novak Djokovic.

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“I don’t really know why, but maybe, you know, it was big tournaments and also playing at home, I’ve known the place for a long time, and I don’t know why, but, yes, from the first game against (Andrey) Rublev, I’m starting to play so much better and gaining confidence. I mean, it was a good experience.”

Nishikori, who until last week hadn’t reached a semi-final since Barcelona in April 2019, converted his only break point from the opening set against Kecmanovic before taking the opener.

Kecmanovic fought back with aggressive tennis, but Nishikori regrouped in time after losing the tiebreaker to take an early lead in the decider and never looked back.

Nishikori next faces Polish seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz, who is in the midst of a breakout season that included a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, for a place in the last 16.

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Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Toby Davis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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