Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori felt disappointed but didn't panic after losing the opening two sets of his Australian Open round-of-16 clash against No. 23 seed Pablo Carreno Busta. The ninth-seeded Japanese edged out the Spaniard 6-7 (8) 4-6 7-6 (4) 6-4 7-6 (8) to reach the quarter-final at Melbourne Park.
Nishikori was twice up by a break during the first set but Carreno Busta found a way to steal the opener. The Japanese found himself trailing by two sets after getting broken early in the second set. However, Nishikori kept his focus as he came from a break down in the third set before he also won the fourth set to force a decider.
The world No. 9 failed to serve out for the match in the 10th game but managed to get the job done in the super tie-break. "I mean, of course I was really disappointed. I should have won (the) first set. I had so many chances (during the) first set," Nishikori said post-match.
"And (in the) second set, I mean, he was playing better. Credit to him, but I just tried to play good tennis again. I wasn't thinking too much, and I just tried to play one game at a time. "Maybe I changed my tennis and a little bit of tactics, but yeah, (I) started getting more confidence from the third set and started playing better."
Carreno Busta led 7-5 during the super tie-break but Nishikori then won five points in a row to claim the win. "Well, very unusual to win five points in a row. I think played really great points (in the) last two points of his service game.
I was very focused. I was there and finished with my serve, you know. So everything was working well in the fifth set," Nishikori admitted. Nishikori also needed a super tie-break to beat Ivo Karlovic in the second round.
"Yeah, maybe. Getting used to this super tie-break. And, I mean, both times I came back from, you know, (a) break down. Yeah, happy to have finished like that. You know, there were many tough moments," Nishikori said, when asked if he's glad that super tie-breaks were introduced in Australia.
"Yeah, I just tried to fight through every point, and luckily I got five points in a row (in the) last tie-break." Nishikori plays next against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Also read: Injured Marin Cilic shows class after Australian Open exit