Tenaciously Tennis

Nishikori Kicks Off Year with Win Over Cilic

Posted in Brad Gilbert,Kei Nishikori,Marin Cilic by Ben on January 4, 2011

Kei Nishikori, who recently hired Brad Gilbert as coach, upset the second-seeded Marin Cilic in the first round of the Chennai Open. Nishikori won 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2. Cilic was the tournament’s two-time defending champion.

A recent Associated Press article quoted Nishikori: “I was nervous, first match for me … new coach, new trainer. It was a good match today.”

About changes to his game, Nishikori continued that his goal is “not to miss easy balls, not doing crazy stuff… (to play) more percentage tennis. In the second set I tried to make most of my first serves… I was making him move.”

As another article about the match states, “The world number 98 improved his head-to-head against the Croatian to 2-1, adding to his upset win at the 2010 US Open in five sets.”

While it’s too soon to praise Brad Gilbert’s coach for the win, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nishikori continues his strong play into the next couple rounds (and probably beyond, too). As his surprise run to the 2008 US Open fourth-round showed, and even his third-round showing in 2010, Nishikori has the ability to beat the best. If he remains injury-free, he might just join the ranks of the ATP’s top-tier soon enough.

Watch the video below for Nishikori’s five-set win over Cilic in the second round of the 2010 US Open.


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