Nishikori Looks To Use Early Momentum In Indian Wells
Nishikori wants to make a deep run in the desert
On three occasions, Japan's Kei Nishikori has entered the BNP Paribas Open just a few weeks after winning an early season title. But each time, Nishikori has struggled to translate that momentum into a deep run at Indian Wells.
This time around, the fifth seed is hoping the next two weeks change his recent luck in the desert.
“I [have] never done very well here,” he said. “I need to raise my level a little bit.”
Nishikori, who is currently No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, said to do well in Indian Wells, he'll have to better handle the desert conditions that produce high-bouncing and fast-moving balls.
“You have to take care of those little things and try to play good tennis,” he said.
Nishikori does again have early momentum on his side. Last month, he won his fourth consecutive Memphis Open title, joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the only active players to win four consecutive titles at a single tournament.
“It's been pretty good,” Nishikori said of his game. “Started well in Australia. Played great tennis and won Memphis again.”
“It's just amazing,” Nishikori said. “He's been winning almost every title.”
In Memphis, Nishikori beat two Americans – Ryan Harrison, Sam Querrey – and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan to advance to the final. For the tournament title, Nishikori beat ATP World Tour Next Generation Star Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4.
Now Nishikori wants to achieve similar success at the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 of the year. Nishikori posted his best Indian Wells result last year, when he made it to the round of 16. (l to Lopez).
This will be Nishikori's eighth time playing at Indian Wells. He received a bye in the first round and in the second round will face either Kukushkin again or Daniel Munoz de la Nava of Spain.
Nishikori has never faced Munoz de la Nava but is 5-0 against Kukushkin.
“It's always fun to play, very relaxed,” Nishikori said of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. “It's always exciting to come to Indian Wells.”