You can put pressure on Kei Nishikori, but finishing him off is a completely different challenge.
The Japanese star showed why he has the best record of tours in the open era on Friday at Roland Garros, fighting from a double break in 0-3 in the fifth set to defeat the No. 31 seed Laslo Djere 6 -4, 6- 7 (6), 6-3, 4-6, 8-6. Nishikori advanced to the fourth round in the Parisian terre battue for the fifth consecutive year.
"I think he was playing great tennis, I mean, he almost had it." [It’s] good to come back later [being] 3-0 down, two breaks. It was not easy, of course. I was playing on fire, "Nishikori said. I had to wait for a small chance, and sometimes I took a chance and I could break. [I’m] feeling great after winning a good game. "
Nishikori has now won 74.4 percent of his deciding sets, extending his record to 131-45 when the distance is pushed. The seventh seed is also 22-6 in five sets, including 4-1 at Roland Garros.
"I just tried to hold on and tried to concentrate on every point, I did not think too much when I was down 3-0, I knew I was going to have a small opportunity, and I was waiting for an opportunity, two opportunities, and I was able to play well at the moment," he said. Nishikori. "The last couple games I had a lot of confidence".
The top 5 percentages of wins in decision sets (was open)
The Japanese star has now advanced to the last 16 in 11 of the last 12 Grand Slams he has played. And although he has captured 10 of his 12 ATP Tour trophies on hard courts, he has won a greater number of clay matches than on any other surface. With his victory against Djere, Nishikori has triumphed in 71% (91-38) of his claycourt matches compared to 68.2% (266-124) in hard courts.
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For a moment, however, Djere appeared, the Rio Open this year presented by the Claro champion, would emerge from surprise. The Serbian, who had never before reached the third round of a Grand Slam, broke his first two games back from the fifth set, moving only three points ahead to win one of the greatest victories of his career.
See Infosys MatchBeats Of Nishikori & # 39; s Win
But Nishikori, who caught Deuce in the Serbian's first four service games in the fourth set, but could only break one of six opportunities on the set, which led to the decision maker, broke three times in the final set. And finally, after four hours and 26 minutes, Djere lost a lot of time and Nishikori raised his arms in celebration.
World No. 7 will face Frenchman Benoit Paire, who advanced after taking a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1) lead against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who retired due to an injury the right thigh.
The tenth time showed the charm of Paire, who is in the fourth round at his home in Grand Slam for the first time in his tenth attempt. The Frenchman had advanced to the Round of 16 only twice in 33 previous major appearances.
Paire is finding his best form in this season of clay courts, currently with a run of eight consecutive victories after triumphing in the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon last week for his second title of the year (also Marrakech on land ). He will try to overcome a 2-6 deficit in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Nishikori.
"He has great service, I think he has been playing very well these two weeks and, for me, he has the best setback in the [ATP] Excursion. I have to be very careful with that, "said Nishikori.[It] It seems he has been playing well. I have to play good tennis if I want to beat him. "
Last year, Nishikori needed two hours and 59 minutes in five sets to defeat the Frenchman.
"It's not always easy to play Benoit, he has a great touch, sometimes you do not know what he's going to do, so it's not easy to lead," Nishikori said. "He is a great player, he comes very well, great service, good setback, beautiful setback, and yes, I am sure it will be difficult."
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Djere did not break Nishikori's serve in the first three sets, but he did it four times in the last two sets. Nishikori, however, broke seven times in his victory to win his seventh consecutive set of five sets.