ATP Delray Beach: Yoshihito Nishioka overcomes slow start to beat Ugo Humbert
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3407
The 24-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka will compete for the second ATP title on Sunday in Delray Beach, beating both the rain and Ugo Humbert to stay on the title course. The Japanese beat the Frenchman 1-6, 6-4, 6-0, overcoming a slow start and playing better and better as the match progressed to seal the deal in an hour and 41 minutes, waiting to find out who will be his opponent in the title match as Milos Raonic and Reilly Opelka couldn't step on the court on Saturday.
Humbert made the best possible start, dominating in the opening set and keeping the pressure on Nishikoka in the opening eight games of the second set before the Japanese shifted into a higher gear, taking the final eight games to seal the deal in style and achieve the best result since Shenzhen 2018.
Both players had to defend eight break points, with Hishioka fending off six of those and delivering four breaks to control the pace from the end of the second set and leave the rival behind. Humbert was off to a strong start, earning a break in game two when Nishioka netted a forehand and holding at love with a forehand winner to move 3-0 up.
A backhand volley winner secured another break for Ugo in game four, moving away from the court for some 40 minutes due to rain before they continued, with the Frenchman holding at 15 to race into a 5-0 advantage. Serving for the set at 5-1, Ugo placed a backhand down the line winner to wrap up the opener in style, hoping for more of the same in set number two.
Yoshihito fended off two break chances at the beginning of the second set to end his downfall, with another long break coming after the third game that halted the action for an hour. Humbert repelled a break chance in the sixth game, staying neck and neck until game ten when the Frenchman hit a double fault to lose serve and the set.
With the momentum on his side, Nishioka was the only player on the court in the decider, barely dropping a point behind the initial shot and delivering three breaks for a bagel and the place in the final. Serving at 0-5, Humbert sprayed a forehand error to propel the rival through, finishing his journey in the semi-final and staying on one title so dar in 2020.