Kei Nishikori reached the third round of the French Open on Wednesday, winning five of seven sets on the court in a total of eight hours and admitted: “I feel like I’ve already played five games.” The 31-year-old needed four hours to qualify Russian Karen Khachanov in 23rd place 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at Court Philippe Chatrier. In the first round, it also took four hours for Alessandro Giannessi to win the Italian classification.
“I feel like I’ve played five games already. Believe me, I hate playing five sets. I don’t do it on purpose,” he told Nishiko in the quarter-finals three times in Paris.
The statistics tell a different story.
After playing five to five players in his only two games in the 2020 tournament, he now has nine wins and two full-distance losses at the French Open.
Overall, he has won 11 of his last 12 players and has the best percentage of all active players.
“Today, my energy level is not high. I had my first game in four hours, four hours today,” he added.
“After losing the third set, I kept telling myself whether I wanted to keep playing. There was no answer for me, but I keep playing.
“My body said no, but my mind was just ‘keep playing’. So I was able to win the fourth set without thinking about anything.”
Overall, Nishikori has a 26-7 record of five sets in his career.
It is crucial that he now deepens his undoubted strength and becomes the final period of lasting success in a career that has so far earned him 12 titles.
“Everyone tells me I have a good record. Sometimes I have to think that after five records I have to keep building my record.
“I think in the fifth set. I’m playing really good tennis, more than any other set.”
Nishikori, the former world number four in 2014, is playing Nishikori in Paris in 49th place, the lowest since 2011.
However, this European clay court has needed some serious knockers this season to dominate it.
Alexander Zverev defeated world number six in Madrid and Rome.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal took a set in Barcelona before losing in three sets.
“I’ve only lost against the top 10 players. You can say I’m not winning against the top 10 players right now, but for me things are much better,” Nishikori said.
“I think I’m on my way to the top 10 again. I’m very happy with this moment.”
Regardless of how far he reaches the French Open – he plays Henri Laakson’s Swiss qualifier next time – Nishikori won’t have much time to delve into his form.
Mai’s wife is expecting her first children this year.
“I’m still thinking on behalf of my child. It’s going to be a Japanese name,” she said.
The issues mentioned in this article
Be Updated with all the Latest Sports News