Nishikori Claims 300th Win
Japanese star in form
Fifth seed Kei Nishikori kept up his good run of form and claimed his 300th tour-level win with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Viktor Troicki on Wednesday to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
"I think it's a great number," said Nishikori. "I think this year has been pretty good. I have been winning a lot of matches and playing a lot of tournaments. Every year I feel like I'm getting strong, so I'm happy with performance right now."
The Japanese star, who is coming off his fifth ATP World Tour final of the season in Basel last week (l. to Cilic), twice let slip a break advantage in the second set before breaking Troicki decisively in the 11th game to claim victory in 74 minutes. Nishikori has a 300-138 career-mark, including a personal-best 57 match wins this season.
"I think it was a good match to start the tournament," said Nishikori. "Second set there were many up and downs. We both had many breaks, and maybe I could have finished it a little easier, but he started playing better in certain moments. It wasn't an easy match, but I'm happy to win."
The 26-year-old Nishikori made a successful return to action last week after being forced to retire in Tokyo and withdraw from Shanghai due to a hip injury. The right-hander, a former semi-finalist in Paris, is looking for another strong showing in the French capital ahead of his third appearance at the upcoming Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
No. 13 seed Lucas Pouille battled past Feliciano Lopez to reach the third round with a 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4 victory in just over two hours. The Frenchman can no longer qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, following Marin Cilic’s second-round win earlier, but is looking for a big finish to what has been a career-best season.
The 22-year-old Pouille has compiled a 34-21 match record in 2016, highlighted by winning his first ATP World Tour title in Metz (d. Thiem) and finishing runner-up in Bucharest (l. to Verdasco).