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Tennis: Nishikori captures 10th ATP title at Citi Open

Kei Nishikori won his 10th ATP title by beating John Isner in three sets. Photos: AFP.

Kei Nishikori won his 10th ATP title by beating John Isner in three sets. Photos: AFP.

August 10, 2015: Kei Nishikori won his 10th ATP World Tour title and rose to World No. 4 after he rallied from an early deficit to down home hope John Isner 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the Citi Open final in Washington on Sunday.

 

Isner, 30, snatched the opener with a pair of screaming forehand returns in the 10th game, earning the first break of the match. Nishikori fought back, opening the second set with an immediate break and consolidating to love for 2-0.

 

Isner received treatment on his right shoulder after the third game and the Japanese refused to relinquish his advantage, sending the final encounter to a one-set sprint. In the third, Nishikori did not let his foot off the gas, grabbing a break in the third game and holding serve to the finish line in his 15th ATP final.

 

Nishikori, who started the week as World No. 5, has been a dominant force in deciding sets, now owning a 13-3 record this year when going the distance. He has won 34 of his last 40 such matches.

 

“I’m very happy to win after losing the first set. I came back really well so I’m very happy to win today,” said Nishikori, who lost the first set three times during the week.

 

“I fought through. In the first match I was down 7-6 and came back. It’s not easy, but mentally I tried to fight every time and I’m happy to win in the final today.”

 

Nishikori serves against Isner in the Citi Open final in Washington.

Nishikori serves against Isner in the Citi Open final in Washington.

Three of his last four titles have come at the 500 level, winning on the clay of Barcelona this year after hoisting the trophy on home soil last October in Tokyo. Nishikori earned US$343,000 and 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points.

 

The big-serving Isner claimed their lone previous encounter on the hard courts of the Masters 1000 event in Miami earlier this year.

 

“I didn’t make enough inroads on his first serve,” Isner said. “If you put a decent amount of first serves in the court, he’s arguably the best in the best in the world from the baseline. It’s tough. I thought he served better in the second and third sets. He’s a great player and a great champion.”

 

Source: ATP (www.atpworldtour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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