The 6th seed Kei Nishikori had to work hard in the opening match at Indian Wells, defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 in two hours and 33 minutes to reach the third round. Kei won just three points more than the Frenchman and was a break down twice in the deciding set, pulling the break back in the very last moment in game 12 and taking the tie break 7-4 to move over the finish line first and avoid another early setback after losing early in Dubai.
After the match, Kei praised his rival and also mentioned the veterans on the Tour, saying they train and work harder than ever, which motivates him to stay competitive for at least a few more years and chase good results after turning 30.
"Yeah. I mean, I have to say Mannarino was playing well. There were many long rallies and he defended well. He made me play, you know, one or two extra balls many, many times. I mean, I think it was a good match. I didn't play poorly.
For the moment I could be more.. could play better and may be able to finish in two sets. But, yeah, like I said, he was playing good tennis, also. I think we both played good, and I think I played my best tennis in the tie break, I was focused and I'm happy to win today.
Everything is getting, like, smarter and better, like, training, the treatment. You know, I think everybody start doing more training than used to, like, ten years ago, that's for sure. And also, see these guys, you know, playing better still, and, you know, looks like they still grow.
Roger and so many guys around 35, they still play pretty tough. So that also gives me the motivation to stay longer on the playing tour. And, yeah, for myself, I still feel like, you know, I'm still young, and I can see so many opportunities, and I can get better every year. I'm looking forward to playing a couple more years."