World No. 45 Kei Nishikori admitted he didn't feel great about his chances against Felix Auger-Aliassime before the match but it all changed after the match started. Nishikori, a former world No. 4, claimed a surprise 7-6 (4) 6-1 win over No.
7 seed Auger-Aliassime in the Rotterdam first round to earn his first win of the season. ''Before the match, I didn't feel anything like a good sign, I didn't play well in the practice, but once I got into the match, I suddenly started feeling like I could make good points,'' Nishikori said, as revealed by Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
I was composed and my serve was better, I got many free points with my serve, that made a biggest difference compared to matches in Australia. I was able to hold my serve easily... maybe not easily (laugh).' '
Nishikori started the season with three consecutive losses
Nishikori lost to Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Russia's Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup, before losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in the Australian Open first round.
''Yeah, I feel like it's been a long time since my last win,'' Nishikori admitted. ''At the end of the match it was a bit flat, but I played well, I was happy with that. I lost the AO 1R, but I was positive even at that time.
Happy to feel like I've started getting back my tennis. ''Before the tournament I thought I should have played lower-ranked players to get my rhythm rather than top players (in Rotterdam), but I felt like I was able to compete at this level.
I didn't feel rushed unlike in Australia, that was good. ''I think I'm coming back, though I still lack some delicate feelings of defense on the edge or dropshot, but my feelings are really coming back. I practiced lots of points with Harrison in Florida, that brought good things.' ' Nishikori plays next against Alex de Minaur.