I won my third challenger this year. Feeling great. We had to move indoors but played so good!
And some media reports:
Nishikori takes inside track to Challenger tennis title
By Kevin Stevens •email@example.com • August 15, 2010, 8:35 pm
BINGHAMTON -- Kei Nishikori transitioned nicely to the indoor game Sunday and claimed the Levene, Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger's singles championship with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over American Robert Kendrick at Binghamton Tennis Center.
Nishikori, a 20-year-old native of Japan who resides in Bradenton, Fla., overcame a bothersome shoulder and his opponent's big serve to claim the $7,200 winner's share.
In the doubles final that preceded Nishikori's triumph, Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines and Dominic Inglot of Great Britain defeated Americans Scott Lipsky and David Martin, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 10-8.
Rain prompted relocation of the event from Recreation Park to BTC, marking the first time in the 17-year history of the tournament that champions were decided under a roof.
And to hear Nishikori tell it, the switch did nothing to enhance his chances.
"It's so much an advantage for him because he had a very good serve and I'm average," he said. "I thought it'd be a really tough match."
The critical point of the opening set came when Nishikori broke Kendrick's serve to take a 3-1 advantage -- the lengthy final baseline-to-baseline point coming to a close when Kendrick buried a ball into the net and followed by slamming his racquet to the playing surface.
Each player held serve through conclusion of the set, leaving Kendrick to battle uphill against an opponent ranked as high as 56th last February before undergoing elbow surgery.
Nishikori and Kendrick each took care of their serve through to bring the second set to a tiebreak. Along the way, Kendrick rallied from a 15-40 jam to grab a 5-4 lead, his spirited fist-pump upon gaining the point illustrating the significance of his work.
Leading 2-1 in the tiebreak, Nishikori broke serve to move ahead by 3-1, once again prompting a bit of racquet "slippage" by his opponent. A crafty backhand cross-court offering extended Nishikori's lead to 4-2 and an ace extended it to 5-2 and all but spelled the end for Kendrick.
"I thought he did everything well," Kendrick said of Nishikori. "Somebody in the crowd said, 'His elbow's hurting. C'mon, you can beat him.' I wish my elbow felt that bad. He was hitting lights-out out there."
" ... He's a great player on all surfaces. He's obviously a top-25 player, I think."
Nishikori said, "I was returning well in important points. The second set, he was serving really well and I couldn't break."
Nishikori, who plays right-handed, said he began experiencing pain in his left shoulder Sunday morning, and it bothered him "a little bit" while tossing the ball to serve.
"And honestly, I was tired from two matches Friday and a tough match Saturday," he said.
The doubles finale went according to form through the bulk of the first set until Lipsky-Martin broke serve with Huey at the controls to take a 6-5 advantage, and Martin served to close out the set.
Huey-Inglot broke Lipsky's serve for a 2-0 lead in the second set and extended the advantage to 5-2. Lipsky-Martin drew within 5-4 by breaking Inglot's serve. The second-set tiebreak's lead was Huey-Inglot's for keeps once they broke Lipsky's serve to make it 2-1.
The outcome came down to a 10-point super tiebreak, during which Lipsky-Martin dropped behind by 6-4 courtesy of an ace from Inglot, but rallied into a 7-7 tie. Huey-Inglot broke serve for a 9-7 lead and held on from there.
It was the second doubles victory and shared $3,100 check in as many weeks for Huey-Inglot, who won a Challenger event last weekend in Vancouver.
"It definitely got better as the week progressed," Inglot said of the duo's play. "We started off a little slow in the first match against the Japanese pair (Nishikori and Go Soeda) but we pulled out the result when we needed to, and that really gave us confidence going into the next couple matches. Today it was a little tough going indoors. It's a little faster in here and it took a little time to get used to that."
As for the root of back-to-back victories?
"We knew that if we kept having at it, training hard and pushing ourselves, the results would come. Last week's win gave us a lot of confidence. Coming here, we knew we'd beaten really good pairs before, so we felt like we could beat good pairs here, too."
Nishikori captures singles crown
courtesy of tennischallenger.com
Kei Nishikori was just plain too good for Robert Kendrick this afternoon at the Levene Gouldin and Thompson Tennis Challenger. The finals were moved indoors to the Binghamton Tennis Center after persistent rain at the outdoor venue of Recreation Park showed no sign of letting up. The move indoors should have been advantage Kendrick, who has a bigger serve of the two, but Nishikori showed why he was ranked a career best 56 in Feb 2009, and how he reached the round of 16 at the 2008 US Open (beating #4 seed David Ferrer along the way) before elbow surgery set him back in the rankings.
A single service break was all Nishikori needed in the first set, breaking Kendrick who was serving at 1-2. Both held serve the remainder of the set for a routine 6-3 Nishikori win.
The second set was a different story as both players took good care of their serve. The only tense moments came when Kendrick, serving at 4-4 down 15-40, was able to regroup and save the game. In the second set tiebreaker, Nishikori got an early break with Kendrick serving at 1-2. Another Nishikori break with Kendrick serving at 2-5 all but sealed the deal, giving Nishikori 4 match points at 6-2. Kendrick responded with an ace, then a minibreak of his own to get to 6-4 Nishikori serving. Then Kendrick dumped match point into the net for a 6-3, 7-6(4) win.
Nishikori: "Honestly I was tired from two matches the day before (yesterday) and the match yesterday, but I had to stay calm, and I had to do the best I can do."
Kendrick: "A lot of people thought that I might have the advantage coming in here with my serve, and what not, but he hit such a flat ball. He really took a lot of time away from me out here. So it was tough conditions and he's a great player on all surfaces."
A bit worried about his remarks about the shoulder pain, hope it's nothing serious!