Nishikori Prevails In Late Show Against Del Potro
Nishikori, Zverev advance on Thursday
Kei Nishikori has been burning the midnight oil this week at the Citi Open. After an opening-round win over Donald Young that ended after 1:30am, his Thursday match against 13th seed Juan Martin del Potro spilled into Friday. The 2015 champion hit his final ball of the night at 2:00am local time to reach the quarter-finals over the Argentine 6-4, 7-5.
"It was a very tight game and we played great tennis in the second set," said Nishikori. "I was dominating my service games and very happy with my tennis today."
The Japanese player went into the match trailing del Potro 1-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, but was in firm control throughout much of the contest. However, it appeared the match would head to a decider after del Potro rallied from 2-4 in the second set, going on a three-game run and holding three set points on Nishikori's serve at 5-4. But the Japanese player dug deep, going on a three-game run of his own to prevail in one hour and 49 minutes.
Next up for Nishikori is wild card and #NextGenATP American Tommy Paul, who rallied from a set down to topple 11th seed Gilles Muller 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 54 minutes. Paul got revenge for his loss to Muller just one week ago in the BB&T Atlanta Open quarter-finals, in which he only managed to win four games. Paul was ranked No. 400 in the Emirates ATP Rankings two months ago, but will move comfortably inside the Top 200 when the newest standings are released on Monday.
Another #NextGenATP player, Russian Daniil Medvedev, continued his outstanding season by toppling fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2. The 21 year old was fearless against the World No. 11, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points and controlling most of the baseline rallies to advance in 63 minutes. Medvedev also had a high-profile win this year at Wimbledon, where he took out Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.
Awaiting Medvedev in the next round is fifth seed Alexander Zverev, who prevailed at 1:49am over Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 7-5. Zverev won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Medvedev this past September in St. Petersburg.
“I want to sleep right now,” joked Zverev after the match. “It was tough to get into a rhythm, but I think we played a great match in the end.”