Top-ranked Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori admitted that the match against Aljaz Bedene could have gone either way but he was happy to escape with a close win.
Nishikori, ranked at No. 39 in the world, edged out Bedene 7-6 (6) 5-7 6-4 to reach the Miami Masters third round.
Nishikori twice recovered from a break down in the first set, before he converted his fourth set point in the tie-break to win a tight opener.
Bedene again blew an early second set break but broke Nishikori again in the 12th game to force a decider.
In the third set, Nishikori broke Bedene in the seventh game and then held on to his serve to win the match.
“It could go both ways, very close and tough match. In the final set I started serving better to hold my service games easily, that enabled me to put pressure on him in my return games. I adjusted some aspects of my serve technically and then started playing better,” Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
Nishikori plays next Stefanos Tsitsipas
“I’m more confident than before. Tough opponent (Tsitsipas) is coming, but I’m kind of excited, it should be a good test for me. I’m more looking forward to the match. Hope I will do my best. In Australia I was worried and distracted by hard quarantine, but now I’m mentally OK.”
Tsitsipas also won’t be taking Nishikori for granted.
“[Kei is] a player that has played very well in the past, and even now he can raise his level really high,” said Tsitsipas. “I’ll try and be ready for the battle. It’s important for me to have matches against strong opponents like him.
“I am very pumped for the match and I’m going to try and put my best performance out there. I’m going to try and take it game by game… It’s a strong third round, I won’t hide it. It’s important for me to be ready for that match and be physically prepared.”