ATP BEIJING & TOKYO: Strong finish for Nishikori against Young, victories for Cilic, Ferrer and Pouille as well

Tennis - Qualifier Kyle Edmund had a great opening match in Beijing, ousting Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets

by Jovica Ilic
ATP BEIJING & TOKYO: Strong finish for Nishikori against Young, victories for Cilic, Ferrer and Pouille as well

ATP 500 Tokyo (Outdoor Hard) : It was an interesting opening day of the Japan Open in Tokyo, with 2 favorites in action and all 4 matches going into a decider, requiring a similar amount of time to be completed. A two-time Tokyo champion and the crowd favorite, Kei Nishikori, recovered after losing the opening set against the lucky loser Donald Young (he replaced Nicolas Almagro) to dominate in the second and third sets for the place in the second round, ousting the American by 4-6 6-2 6-2. Thus, Nishikori claimed his 52nd victory of the season, avoiding the situation of losing in the opening round for the first time since the US Open last year.

Overall, Kei's second serve made the difference, as he won 69% of the points after missing the first serve, while Young stood at 38%, which was never going to be enough. In the first part of the match, Young used his strong forehands to dictate the points, and he was the first who created a break point in game 4, but with no luck.

In game 9, the American was under big pressure, saving 2 break points, and he went to break Nishikori in the next game, to grab the opener by 6-4. In set number 2 Kei raised his level, taking the set 6-2 after very good performance on both serve and return, losing only 4 points in his games and creating 8 break chances, converting 2 for a 6-2.

The breaks came in games 3 and 5, which gave the control to the Japanese, and he never looked back. Donald managed to stay in touch until 2-2 in the final set, losing the next 4 games including 2 breaks as he had to lay down the weapons in front of the stronger and better-ranked rival.

This was their 4th meeting and Kei won all of them, including 9 out of 10 sets.
The 4th seed Marin Cilic had a perfect start against Benoit Paire, but in the end, he also had to play 3 sets to reach the round 2, defeating the Frenchman 6-0 4-6 6-3.

This was their 3rd meeting and second consecutive win for Marin, who celebrated in Marseille this season as well, and it wasn't particularly good match, with 19 break points in total and a lot of errors on both sides. Both players struggled with their first serve percentages but in the end, Marin got the most from his initial shot, firing 12 aces and saving 5 out of 6 break points to keep the result under his control.

After the first set when he looked like a recreational player, Paire started to fight and he can be happy with this result overall, at least with his tennis in sets 2 and 3. It was all about Cilic in the opening set, who took it 6-0 in no time at all, with Paire winning just 12 points and, as usual for him, acting like he would rather be doing anything else at that moment.

Frenchman got himself together in the second set, with 3 solid holds and a break in game 7 when he took the lead for the first time in the match. Still, he had to digs deep to remain ahead of Marin until the end of the set, saving 7 break points in total in the final 2 service games, to grab the set by 6-4 and send the match into a decider.

The rivals were on equal terms in the first 5 games, and Marin made a crucial move by breaking in game 6 for a 4-2 lead, keeping it in the remaining 3 games to cross the finish line and book his place in the second round.

Full story coming shortly.. First round results: [1]Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs [LL]Doland Young (USA) 4-6 6-2 6-2
Joao Sousa (POR) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) 4-6 6-3 6-3
[4]Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-0 4-6 6-3
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs [Q]Go Soeda (JPN) 6-7(2) 6-3 6-3 On the next page, results from Beijing.. ALSO READ: ATP RANKINGS 03-10-2016: Dimitrov breaks top 20 again, Best ranking for Khachanov

Atp Beijing Kyle Edmund Guillermo Garcia-Lopez