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Old 02-24-2011, 04:30 AM   #63
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Default Re: US Winter HC season: Delray Beach once more!

Good luck to Kei in QF vs Sweeting on Friday!

http://www.yellowtennisball.com/onli...ats-blake.html

Nishikori beats Blake in rematch of 2008 ITC final.
By Joshua Rey

It’s been a long time since Kei Nishikori swung freely and moved briskly around a tennis court the way he did on Wednesday night, bouncing American wild card James Blake out of the Delray Beach ITC 6-3, 6-4 in 63 minutes.

Hampered with a chronic right elbow problem, the promising Japanese played competed in just one tournament between March 2009 and April 2010.

Now fully healed, he won four Challenger titles, but only three ATP World Tour matches in the final eight months of 2010.

With his two-handed backhand belting winners from all areas of the court, Nishikori dismantled Blake in a rematch of the 2008 Delray Beach ITC final, which he also won.

“It came into my mind tonight that three years ago we were playing the finals,” said Nishikori. “It was a strange feeling to be playing in the second round. We are both different than last time. He had an injury and I had surgery. So it was new for us.”

Time and again, the American mistimed his returns, winning only 14 of 57 points (24.6 percent) in which he was the receiver. Blake did not convert either of the break points he earned in the match, including the chance he had at 2-2 in the first set.

“That’s probably the best I’ve hit the ball in the last three weeks, but I just couldn’t put a return in,” said Blake, who is attempting to come back from a right knee injury. “The only thing that I felt I was doing well the last couple weeks was the return. Then I came here, and that’s the one thing that went off.”

Nishikori held for 3-2 by hitting a leaping, scissor-kick forehand winner, which he hit often during his 2008 run from qualifier to champion.

In the very next game, Blake appeared to be in a winning position at 30-30, knifing a low backhand volley. But Nishikori answered with a sharply-spun crosscourt backhand winner. Blake donated the break with a double fault, and Nishikori closed out the set with an unreturned serve in the ninth game.

“I played well tonight,” said Nishikori. “I tried to not miss much and he’s always aggressive, but at the same time, he’s going to miss a lot. I hit good serves, no breaks.”

Blake’s only other break opportunity came in the second game of the second set. After making his return and engaging in a rally, he mistimed a slice backhand badly into the net. Nishikori went on to hold by serving-and-volleying successfully.

As was the case in the first set, Blake failed to hold serve in the game that followed his own break chance. Nishikori took a 2-1 lead with a crosscourt forehand winner.

The match stayed on serve as Nishikori hit three backhand winners for 4-2, and four unreturned serves for 5-3.

The American held for 4-5, but from 15-15 on Nishikori’s serve, Blake missed three consecutive returns.

“He did a good job making a decent amount of first serves, but I wasn’t putting pressure on his second serve,” said Blake. “That helps make it a little easier to go after your first serve. It’s just frustrating because once I got into the point, I felt like I was hitting the ball well, but he hit the ball great too.”

Nishikori will rise from his current ranking of No. 66 in next week’s ATP rankings, inching ever-so-close to attaining ‘Project-45’. Former pro Shuzo Matsuoka, who peaked at No. 46 in 1992 is the highest-ranked Japanese man in history.

“That’s one of my goals for this year,” said Nishikori. “It’s coming soon hopefully… If I can be healthy, I have a chance to get there.”

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Nishikori will play American qualifier Ryan Sweeting, who is attempting to do what Nishikori did three years ago: win eight matches in nine days to clinch the title. Nishikori is 3-0 lifetime against Sweeting, with each of the matches coming on the Challenger circuit.

[...]


http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Ten...-Face-Off.aspx

Sweeting Ousts Querrey; Nishikori Beats Blake In Rematch
Delray Beach, U.S.A.
By ATP staff

[...]

Sweeting next meets Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who took 63 minutes to post a 6-3, 6-4 win over James Blake in a rematch between the 2008 Delray Beach finalist. On that occasion, an 18-year-old Nishikori had rallied from a set down to defeat the 12th-ranked Blake and claim his first ATP World Tour title.

“He did a good job making a decent amount of first serves, but I wasn’t putting pressure on his second serve,” said Blake. “That helps make it a little easier to go after your first serve. It’s just frustrating because once I got into the point, I felt like I was hitting the ball well, but he hit the ball great too.”

Nishikori and Blake have both dealt with injuries since their first Delray Beach meeting. Nishikori returned last April after undergoing elbow surgery in August 2009, and climbed back into the Top 100 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Blake, currently ranked No. 144, was plagued by a knee injury in 2010 and made his first appearance of the 2011 season earlier this month in San Jose.

“It came into my mind tonight that three years ago we were playing the final,” said Nishikori. “It was a strange feeling to be playing in the second round. We are both different than last time. He had an injury and I had surgery. So it was new for us.”
__________________
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO FOREVER!!

Also supporting Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Lleyton Hewitt
David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko, David Nalbandian
Goran Ivanisevic and Marat Safin
#3 Ferrero Tard

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