Kei Nishikori: “I Have A Lot Of Confidence On Clay Right Now”
by Tom Gainey | May 27th, 2015, 1:27 pm

Among the favorites to win the French Open this year is Kei Nishikori. The 25-year-old broke through a year ago winning in Barcelona then nearly stunning Rafael Nadal in the Madrid final before a back injury ended his title hopes.

Nishikori then did one better, dismissing Novak Djokovic on a blistering hot day to reach the finals of the the US Opens. And he’s continued to play well since, making the quarterfinals in Australia, backing up his Barcelona title and recently making the semifinals at Rome.

This week, the World No. 5 hasn’t lost a set in two wins over Paul-Henri Mathieu and today Geneva champion Thomaz Bellucci.

“I have a lot of confidence on clay right now,” Nishikori said. “So I hope I can do well here, because I haven’t done, you know, not the best result coming yet. But I’m feeling really well on these two matches and winning three straight sets against, you know, a tough player like Thomaz. Very happy to be going next round.

“My body is good. Mental is also good, so I’m very focused.”

Nishikori chances are good for him the return to the fourth round or much further. Nishikori will next get Benjamin Becker in the third round and then either Lukas Rosol or Gabashvili in the fourth.

The fifth seed could run into Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

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12 Comments for Kei Nishikori: “I Have A Lot Of Confidence On Clay Right Now”

jalep Says:

Benjamin Becker had a tough 5 set match v Verdasco today. Feeling good about Kei’s chances v Becker. Was a bit worried about Bellucci. But feel pretty optimistic about his chances of getting past either Rosol or Gabashvilli.

Then yeah, likely Berdych. Will be a tough one. But I think Kei can do it!

KatH Says:

Doubt it – Kei was running on empty.

jalep Says:

He was tired after the effort to win v Bellucci, KatH. But you doubt he can beat Benjamin Becker? or a match v Rosol or Gabashvilli?

You must mean Berdych, right?

KatH Says:

To be honest I didn’t think about who he could meet in his next match – just that he wasn’t going to be an end of tournament true challenger. It’s his stamina (lack of) – he is darned brilliant — but it is not all about scintillating play when it’s over 5 sets…..don’t mind if I’m wrong – as I do admire hime.

Markus Says:

I am not a Nishikori admirer but the more I watch him, the more I start to like him. He is good in almost everything he does and each stroke seems to have a purpose. A very smart player who can beat anybody without needing to be in a zone. His problem is when he faces a big powerful guy who is in the zone, just like Cilic at the US Open final. With a little bit of luck, I’m hopeful that he will eventually win a slam.

jalep Says:

KatH and Markus

Agree have my doubts about him winning a GS final because of his size and the big names, plus physically stronger players that he’d have to beat to get a GS title with the 5 set format. He doesn’t have a masters 1000 yet. He would have the Madrid title – he had Rafa on the ropes in 2014 but…his back gave out. Such is the case I’m afraid with Kei when he has a tough draw to navigate, even in the Masters 3 set format.

I just think he has a chance to get to the QF to play Berdych and (could) be clever enough to pass Berdych. His best weapon is his mindset and ability to find a strategy v more powerful players – not Murray, as we saw in Madrid. Whether he could win his semi would depend on probably Wawrinka or Federer being also tapped out – or not in good form after their efforts to get to the semi.

Doubt Kei could beat anyone who makes this final from the top half – Rafa, Andy, Nole…

jalep Says:

But… Berdych getting to the FO final would be equally futile v Rafa, Andy, Nole.

KatH Says:

Re. KIA – Yes, Agreed.

But I was really quite shocked at how he was seriously tired in the last section of today’s match – his head was down at his knees (hyberbole) — he won thru the skin of his teeth.

Miracle if he can withstand a longish match in the next couple of days with anyone…

jane Says:

has anyone seen tsonga’s matches? what is his form like? seems to me either berd, kei or tsonga will come through that section and make it to the semis, likely to face roger, or on the outside chance, i guess stan is possible, and even further outside that, maybe monfils???!!!

jalep Says:

Have not seen his matches, jane. I can tell you his 1st match was someone I’ve never heard of and his match today was v Dudi Sela. Both easy 3 set wins.

Tsonga will either play Kohls or Pablo Honey next – their match today was stopped in the 5th set due to darkness and will have to finish tomorrow. I watched some of that match. Kohls took a long time to get going – was down 2 sets to Pablo, then Kohls won 3rd and 4th set and was up one break in the 5th. Kohls looked very tired at the start. Pablo has never made it past the 1st round at FO…so, my guess is advantage Tsonga on Friday v either of them.

Tsonga makes it through 3rd round, he meets Berdych (or unlikely Paire, Berdych’s next opponent). I picked a Berdych and Kei quarterfinal. Probably Berdych gets to the semi. And yeah from there he’ll will likely have Federer, Stan, LaMonf…or ?

jane Says:

yeah, a berd/kei quarterfinal makes the most sense. and i’d guess stan/fed on the other side.

have you gone with seeds on the other half? i.e., rafole and andy/ferru?

jalep Says:

yes, jane, I did go with a rafole and andy/ferru quarterfinal. But my early round bracket picks have been mostly wrong – only have 60 points out of seventy-whatever it is…very rusty picking.

Dimitrov going out to Sock didn’t help.

And speaking of my fellow countrymen doing well, see Steve Johnson. Stan meets him next. That could be trouble, I guess. After that, it would be Simon or Mahut for Stan – before he meets Federer, who could go out to Monfils or Cuevas – before getting to Stan or Johnson.

Makes me think of Abbott and Costello, who’s on first?

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