World No. 45 Kei Nishikori was thrilled with his win over rising Australian star Alex de Minaur as that was a big boost of motivation for him.
Nishikori, who played only four tournaments last season and started this season with three consecutive losses, surprised world No. 23 de Minaur 6-3 2-6 7-5 to reach the Rotterdam quarterfinal.
”In the 3rd set, it was even. I got a lead first but in several games I felt a bit of frustration that I didn’t play aggressively enough, so in the last game I tried to go for it like in the 1st set,” Nishikori said after the match, as revealed by Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
”I’m kind of convinced that I’m getting back my good feelings, at least I don’t feel like I’m short of good feelings of (hitting) balls, so I can’t use that (lack of feelings) as an excuse anymore.”
Nishikori eyeing a top-10 return
Nishikori, a former world No. 4, will play against either Borna Coric or Dusan Lajovic for a place in the Rotterdam semifinal.
Nishikori is hoping to continue his run in Rotterdam and to return to the top-10 this year.
”I’m happy to reach the QF and play decent matches against good players, I’m kind of relieved and motivated by that.
As long as I have frustration that I can’t play as usual, it’s difficult to lift me up and that exhausts me mentally too. I’m happy that I’ve got out of that,” Nishikori added.
”I had trouble holding my serve in last couple of matches and let my opponents play comfortably, and sometimes I can’t get into a match well, so I still have things to work on, but I’m almost there.
”I don’t feel certain weakness in specific part of my play, so if I can get top 10 player-like mentality to sink into my mind, I think I can be back into top 10.”
Japanese tennis star Nishikori is now ranked at No. 45 in the world.