Tennis: Nishikori claims Brisbane title

Tennis: Nishikori claims Brisbane title

Japanese star Kei Nishikori claimed his first title since 2016 when he downed Russia’ s Daniil Medvedev 6 -4 , 3 -6 , 6- 2 in the final of the Brisbane International on Sunday.

The Japanese star had not won a tournament since Memphis in 2016 and was hampered by a wrist injury the following year which forced a break from the 2018 tour .

He was runner- up in Brisbane in 2017 but went one better this year in a superb final.

Nishikori dominated his Russian rival throughout , despite a slight hiccup when one poor service game cost him the second set .

The second seed started slowly and went down 0 -3 to the Russian.

But he recovered to break back and then seized the advantage at 3- 3 when he broke Medvedev again , taking the first set in 42 minutes .

Nishikori was all over the Russian in the second set , his powerful and well -directed groundstrokes forcing Medvedev into errors.

Medvedev held on against Nishikori’s multiple chances to break at 2- 2 and 3 -3 and took advantage of his opponent ’s poor service game to break ahead .

“I felt like in the second set I was a little bit , like waiting too much and I couldn ’t convert all the chances I had , ” the Russian said .

“And he did really well the last game , I mean the 4 -3 game . He took the risk and he did well and credit to him for second set .

“ I had so many chances and I thought I could win in two sets .”

Any thought Medvedev would take the momentum into the decider proved wrong as Nishikori stormed to a 5 – 1 lead, eventually wrapping up the final in just over two hours .

“I realised I had to do something to win this match and I think I made a change really well ,” he said .

“I think I returned well — that was the biggest key , I think . I was able to return very deep and I think I put him under pressure .”

Nishikori said he was pleased with his form heading into the Australian Open , a tournament at which he has never progressed further than the quarter -finals.

“The main goal is to do well in Australian Open, but I ’m really happy that I’ ve been playing really well this week ,” he said .

“Even if I lost today , I think I was very confident , and some of the matches I played some of the best ( players ) .

“So , I ’m happy to go in Melbourne, and I feel like it’s one of my favourite tournaments there .

“I feel like I have much support and feel almost home there so I hope I can do well better than quarter- final.”

( AFP )

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