Top-ranked Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori recovered from a set down in style as he dominated Russian Karen Khachanov after losing the opener to the Russian.
Nishikori, ranked at No. 43 in the world, beat Khachanov 6-7 (6) 6-2 6-2 to reach the Madrid Masters second round.
Nishikori claimed the first break of the match to take a 2-1 lead but Khachanov responded with two quick breaks to take a 4-2 lead.
But Khachanov’s lead was short-lived as well as Nishikori broke back and the set went into a tie-break, in which Khachanov saved two set points before realizing his second set point to win the opener.
Nishikori then claimed two breaks in each set and lost no service games to create a comeback.
“I didn’t practice for a couple of days. Yesterday was the first time I played some points so probably that was why my first set vs Khachanov was a bit tentative,” Nishikori said, as revealed by Jose Morgado.
Nishikori acknowledged he made a slow start
“I didn’t start well, couldn’t hit aggressively, didn’t feel balls well, but from the 2nd set I started hitting through. I expected that backhand down the line would be an important shot for me, be effective to move my opponent,” Nishikori added, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
“It might be a bit late to start using the shot, but at the end I was able to hit good backhand down the line and make great shots.
“Serve was not good today, it’s the biggest point I have to adjust.”
Nishikori is set for another tough opponent as he plays next former world No. 3 Alexander Zverev.
“It’s gonna be tough to play a big server like Zverev here with high altitude, I felt I was not used to the condition here yet today, hope it will be better once I get used to it,” Nishikori said.