Nishikori Dispatches Harrison in Straight Sets in Memphis

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Kei Nishikori Tennis News

Photo by Alex Smith

Three-time defending champion Kei Nishikori extended his match-win streak in Memphis to 14, defeating American Ryan Harrison, 6-2, 7-5.


The quest for a fourth straight Memphis Open title for Kei Nishikori began with a rematch of last year’s second round encounter in which Nishikori edged out Harrison in three tough sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.


This year, with a new court surface and new balls, not much in the ending result would change other than a faster finish.

Nishikori managed to hold serve easily in the opener, with his opponent struggling to keep from getting broken.  Eventually, Harrison’s struggles would continue, dropping the first set at 6-2.

Throughout the second set, smooth strokes by the defending champ repeatedly wrong-footed Harrison, causing outbursts of frustration.  It was quickly becoming evident that Harrison was not going to challenge the service game of Nishikori, so he was going to have to defend his own.

With the crowd attempting to keep the American in the match, Nishikori began to get tight when serving for the match at 5-4.

Missing out on three match point opportunities, it would be Harrison who finally broke on his fifth break point chance.

With the match now leveled at 5-5, Nishikori dug in to make sure neither the crowd nor Harrison could prolong the match, quickly breaking back and holding to finish 6-2, 7-5.

“Ryan started playing a little better in the last two games,” Nishikori said. “I had a few easy mistakes, I believe a double fault or two, but I’m happy I was able to close it out.”

n an all-American doubles battle out on Grandstand, No.3 seeds Eric Butorac and Lipsky faced off with Denis Kudla and Donald Young.


The meeting of “Old School” vs “New School” was a battle of wits against strength and “Old School” prevailed. Lipsky and Butorac attacked the Kudla serve throughout the match, poaching on nearly every service point, leaving Young helpless.


After dropping the first set 6-2, the younger Americans started to pick on Lipsky at the next, but the quick hands of Butorac came to the rescue to fend off the opposing duo, 6-2, 7-5.


Sam Querrey is back in the quarterfinals for the seventh time in Memphis after taking out Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen, 6-3, 6-4.


Laaksonen’s hot streak looked like it was going to continue after the Swiss quickly broke the 2010 champ in the first game of the first set. But it did not take Querrey long to figure out his opponent’s game.


“He played right on the baseline and kinda went for everything,” Querrey said. “Once I broke back, I felt a lot more comfortable. I felt that I had control and I liked my chances.”


All Querrey would need was two more breaks to put the match away.


Another seed was ousted Wednesday with the fifth seed American Denis Kudla falling to Mikhail Kukushkin. Kudla seemed out of sorts early on in the match, not able to keep up with Kukushkin’s strokes, quickly dropping the set 6-1.

The routing continued on to the second with the Kazakhstan native taking a 3-0 lead before Kudla finally found his form, running off three straight games to even the match.

With the two players continuing to hold serve, the set seemed headed for a tiebreaker until Kukushkin earned a match point a 30-40 on Kudla’s serve, walking away with the victory after a backhand error that went wide from the American’s racket.

“It was a tough match for me after starting off quite well in the first set,” Kukushkin said. “When he [Kudla] started to play well in the second set, it was hard for me to keep up the same level. I will enjoy being able to play in the quarterfinals and just enjoy the game.”

Bad timing and poor shot selection would cost llya Marchenko of the Ukranie dearly in his second round match against qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka. The 20-year-old lefty from Japan made quick work of his opponent, 6-1, 6-3.

“I am very excited now, for this is my second quarter final with the ATP and if I win one more, maybe I will be able to play Kei,” Nishioka said. “Right now, I am used to playing in qualies, so I believe in myself in going deep into the main draw.”

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.