Kei Nishikori is back, but is it enough to help him win titles?


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Kei Nishikori is back, but is it enough to help him win titles?

The bad injury he suffered in 2017 is now just a memory for Kei Nishikori. The Japanese, thanks to the convincing performances and the three finals he reached in 2018. Riding on these, he was able to make a comeback to the top-10 of the ATP Ranking, and then, even play the ATP World Tour Finals.

His season began with the ATP Challenger circuit: in Newport Beach, where he was eliminated in the first round, and The RBC Tennis Championships in Dallas, where he won the title against Mackenzie McDonald. In the first part of the season, he reached the semi-final at the New York Open, before the clay season.

In Monte Carlo, Nishikori spectacularly arrived in the final, where he lost to Rafael Nadal. The quarter-finals in Rome and the fourth round at the French Open gave him further continuity, especially to regain his form. In the second-half of the season, Nishikori reached – and lost – two other finals, in Tokyo and Vienna.

He, however, beat Roger Federer in the first round robin match in the ATP World Tour Finals in London, even though he failed to qualify for the semi-finals there. In general, his was a very good season. Nishikori brilliantly overcame the physical problems of 2017, returning to the top-10 and showed to be competitive on all surfaces.

However, even with a good physical condition, he failed to win any title. His last title came in February 2016, almost three years ago. The difficulty in overcoming the final was clear this year. In 2019, the Japanese will have to go beyond his usual regularity, if he really wants to be a credible opponent for his rivals.

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