Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori admitted the match could have gone either way after beating Ilya Ivashka at the Tokyo Olympics. Nishikori, ranked at No. 69 in the world, overcame Ivashka in straight sets 7-6 (7) 6-0 to reach the Tokyo quarterfinal.
Ivashka was three times up by a break in the first set but Nishikori three times recovered to force a tie-break. Ivashka had two consecutive set points in the tie-break but failed to convert as Nishikori realized his second set point to steal the opener.
After failing to realize his chances in the first set, Ivashka's game fell apart as Nishikori claimed three breaks in the second set to book a straight-set win. "The match could have gone either way, if I had lost the 1st set, I'd have lost the match with this score, it was very close match.
I was not able to think about anything due to the heat, just tried to focus on playing one point at a time," Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
Nishikori aims something extraordinary against Novak Djokovic
"Djokovic is the strongest player in the draw.
I've been playing well this week, I want to keep that good feelings and take a full swing. I have to play well with something extra, otherwise I'll lose," Nishikori said. Nishikori admitted he would have no confidence against Djokovic if their match came months ago.
"I'm getting better, only that gives me confidence. (If I had had to play with him) several months ago, I'd have had no confidence. Finally I've started making decent rallies, feel like I can clash with him to some extent," Nishikori said.
Nishikori has managed to find his form and game at the Tokyo Olympics. "I don't know why I've started playing well, maybe because the Games (give me something) or I'm used to the venue. I also want to show good play, that certainly gives me extra motivation," Nishikori added.