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Discussion Starter #1
So why IS NIshikori so great in 5th sets?
I knew he was the best current player in 5th sets, but today I'm pretty sure I heard he was GOAT 5th set player.

So Nish fans: Why?
And does he play more 5 setters than most?

Not watching Nish that much I could only guess he keeps the best for last, has a lot of gas left in the tank physically and mentally.
But if you could win in 3, or 4, that would be preferable to playing 5, ya?
 

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Not one of his fans, but I think his style makes him prone to hot and cold streaks. So he finds himself in deciding sets against many inferior players, and hence wins more often than not.
 

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Although he plays some unnecessary fifth set matches his fifth set record against top-10 players(7-1) is better than his overall record (21-6).

On topic, it's an anomaly to me(because his serve is weak) just like his great tiebreak record. Probably a combination of better agility,great ROS and a relatively less exploitable game(except the serve)
 

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I guess there's something different about his mindset when he's in the last stretch. Similar to Djokovic, who barely trails him in that category.

The ATP has a list, which currently looks like this:
Code:
1	Kei Nishikori	0.743 	130-45
2 	Novak Djokovic	0.742 	175-61
3 	John McEnroe	0.734 	124-45
4 	Bjorn Borg	0.731 	95-35
5 	Rod Laver	0.702 	99-42
6 	Andy Murray	0.686 	151-69
7 	Jimmy Connors	0.685 	172-79
8 	Johan Kriek	0.685 	85-39
9 	Rafael Nadal	0.683 	157-73
10 	Pete Sampras	0.679 	167-79
Federer, in contrast, only sits at #24. The full list can be viewed here:
Performance Career Deciding Set From All Countries
 

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Well, its no accident... he plays 5th sets well.

Stays composed, within himself, attacks smartly when others freak... always controlled, and jumps on the point when he can, doesnt let go.
 

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I guess there's something different about his mindset when he's in the last stretch. Similar to Djokovic, who barely trails him in that category.

The ATP has a list, which currently looks like this:
Code:
1	Kei Nishikori	0.743 	130-45
2 	Novak Djokovic	0.742 	175-61
3 	John McEnroe	0.734 	124-45
4 	Bjorn Borg	0.731 	95-35
5 	Rod Laver	0.702 	99-42
6 	Andy Murray	0.686 	151-69
7 	Jimmy Connors	0.685 	172-79
8 	Johan Kriek	0.685 	85-39
9 	Rafael Nadal	0.683 	157-73
10 	Pete Sampras	0.679 	167-79
Federer, in contrast, only sits at #24. The full list can be viewed here:
Performance Career Deciding Set From All Countries
surprising that fed only ranks 24. I mean, i knew he was a front runner but still...
 

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Because he loses in 4,3...2 or even 0 to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer.
Despite his great record, he lost in 5 the most important one: to Fed in Australia. That was his best chance to win a slam.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not one of his fans, but I think his style makes him prone to hot and cold streaks. So he finds himself in deciding sets against many inferior players, and hence wins more often than not.
Interesting and very plausible.
That was the case today ...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I guess there's something different about his mindset when he's in the last stretch. Similar to Djokovic, who barely trails him in that category.

The ATP has a list, which currently looks like this:
Code:
1	Kei Nishikori	0.743 	130-45
2 	Novak Djokovic	0.742 	175-61
3 	John McEnroe	0.734 	124-45
4 	Bjorn Borg	0.731 	95-35
5 	Rod Laver	0.702 	99-42
6 	Andy Murray	0.686 	151-69
7 	Jimmy Connors	0.685 	172-79
8 	Johan Kriek	0.685 	85-39
9 	Rafael Nadal	0.683 	157-73
10 	Pete Sampras	0.679 	167-79
Federer, in contrast, only sits at #24. The full list can be viewed here:
Performance Career Deciding Set From All Countries
Thanks for the list.
Djok is so close it's really a tie.

This is the kind of stat that doesn't have an obvious meaning, and could mean different things for different players.

Nish is the only player in that top ten list who is not a champion, no big titles.
 

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Thanks for the list.
Djok is so close it's really a tie.

This is the kind of stat that doesn't have an obvious meaning, and could mean different things for different players.

Nish is the only player in that top ten list who is not a champion, no big titles.
It means, Nishikori is the kind of player who is very dangerous when his opponent fails to finish him off at the first opportunity. Like Djere did in their R3 match.

Basically, you choke against Nishikori at your own peril.
 

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Because he loses in 4,3...2 or even 0 to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer.
Despite his great record, he lost in 5 the most important one: to Fed in Australia. That was his best chance to win a slam.
His best chance was when everyone went down later in the year and Rafa/Fed cleaned up. I really believe USO 2017 was his for the taking had he played like he did in 2014 or 2016 or heck last year. I don't think he'd have been able to beat STan and Rafa in 2017 at AO (Actually maybe he would have beat Rafa but not STan). He also did lose in 5 sets to TSonga at FO 2015 that would have been a decent chance at a finals for him (though I believe Stan would streamroll him again).
I do think he has a tendency to lose big matches easily and gets into dogfights against lower ranked opponents which inflates his 5 set record.

But he has very good energy conservation management, doens't lose the plot and his ballstriking never needs to peak for him to stay competitive.
 

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The issue with bo5 is a little bit of unclutchness, miss BPs, lose a TB and you go from a 3 set win to 5 set slugfest even if you've largely been the better player in the first three. He doesn't have the measure to serve games easy and he doesn't quite have an aura of Fedalovic that makes his opponents play like they are defeated when they come out. So his opponents always play at a high level, keeping shots and games alive they'd probably abandon if it were a big 3 player, because they instinctively expect to at least get into rallies, extract some mistakes here and there and get some second serves to attack.

AO this year was an anomaly. He was really down the brink and not at his best (very muggy FH, could not hit the inside in FH to save his life, and that infected everything else) but he kept fighting from 2 sets and break down to PCB.

That said most of the 5 setters his opponents do play well in parts to get it there.

Kei does on his day have one of the strongest tactical games on tour. Maybe it's declined somewhat since his wrist injury break in 2017 but he knows how to construct his points and control them by sheer timing and accuracy of placement so you're never completely safe on the court unless you place your shots deep, or with lots of revs, and with purpose. He does have perhaps the best tactical BH on tour (which means he is able to get the opponent having to cover a lot of ad court with it crosscourt, and can switch DTL when needed) which gives him certain degree of added control in any given rally.
Kei also has a pretty good net game, expected to win 70% or more at net and handles some tough volleys quite well. I remember he was 10/11 at net midway through set 2 against Djokovic at USO 2018 though sadly the rest of his game was too poor.

If anyone did watch the Djere match yesterday, the quality was very high in general, clean hitting from both.
 

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The answer must somewhat be related to who he is playing in these 5 set matches.
 

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surprising that fed only ranks 24. I mean, i knew he was a front runner but still...
While the ratio (Five set wins)/(over all five set matches) is a metric with obvious meaning, I guess a case could be made that the differential (Five set wins - Five set losses) has some importance too. It cannot be a coincidence that the player with the best five-set differential has the most slams, or can it?
 

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Not one of his fans, but I think his style makes him prone to hot and cold streaks. So he finds himself in deciding sets against many inferior players, and hence wins more often than not.
I think this is true.

In the past, Wawrinka was also known as "Marathon Stan" because he often won in the 5th. The main reason was that he despite being the better player constantly fucked it up at important moments because of his risky style of play.

But still, Nishikoris record is impressive, of course, and indicates the vast amount of work he's doing to stay fit for long matches.
 

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I guess there's something different about his mindset when he's in the last stretch. Similar to Djokovic, who barely trails him in that category.

The ATP has a list, which currently looks like this:
Code:
1	Kei Nishikori	0.743 	130-45
2 	Novak Djokovic	0.742 	175-61
3 	John McEnroe	0.734 	124-45
4 	Bjorn Borg	0.731 	95-35
5 	Rod Laver	0.702 	99-42
6 	Andy Murray	0.686 	151-69
7 	Jimmy Connors	0.685 	172-79
8 	Johan Kriek	0.685 	85-39
9 	Rafael Nadal	0.683 	157-73
10 	Pete Sampras	0.679 	167-79
Federer, in contrast, only sits at #24. The full list can be viewed here:
Performance Career Deciding Set From All Countries
So Nishi is still ahead of Djok. I'm almost starting to think that he's intentionally losing 4th sets to lesser players to top this ranking ahead of all these legends ;)

EDIT: I thought it's 5th set record but it's deciding set record. When it comes to 5th set it's like this:

1. Borg 0.818
1. Borotra 0.818
1. Kriek 0.818
4. Cochet 0.8
4. Tilden 0.8
6. Nishikori 0.778
7. Bernard 0.773
7. Robredo 0.773
9. Djokovic 0.763
10. Krickstein 0.757
...
41. Murray 0.657
...
59. Nadal 0.636
...
99. Federer 0.588

https://www.atptour.com/en/performance-zone/win-loss-index/career/5thset/all/
 

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While the ratio (Five set wins)/(over all five set matches) is a metric with obvious meaning, I guess a case could be made that the differential (Five set wins - Five set losses) has some importance too. It cannot be a coincidence that the player with the best five-set differential has the most slams, or can it?
it can not be a coincidence also that most of those slams were won against mugs like bagdadis and roddick and philipussie, no?
 

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So Nishi is still ahead of Djok. I'm almost starting to think that he's intentionally losing 4th sets to lesser players to top this ranking ahead of all these legends ;)

EDIT: I thought it's 5th set record but it's deciding set record. When it comes to 5th set it's like this:

1. Borg 0.818
1. Borotra 0.818
1. Kriek 0.818
4. Cochet 0.8
4. Tilden 0.8
6. Nishikori 0.778
7. Bernard 0.773
7. Robredo 0.773
9. Djokovic 0.763
10. Krickstein 0.757
...
41. Murray 0.657
...
59. Nadal 0.636
...
99. Federer 0.588

https://www.atptour.com/en/performance-zone/win-loss-index/career/5thset/all/
99th is astonishingly bad... a miracle he still won so much...
 
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