Former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori was extremely happy with the way he played against world No. 7 Andrey Rublev in his opener at the Tokyo Olympics.
Nishikori, now ranked at No. 69 in the world, stunned Rublev in the Tokyo Olympics first round as he handed the Russian a 6-3 6-4 loss.
“I played at that high level for the first time in a while since my injury. It’s really nice to beat a top 10 player, but I’m most satisfied with my playing level,” Nishikori said after beating Rublev, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
“Tried to hit aggressive serve. I sometimes tend to avoid hitting aggressive serve especially on my 1st serve, so today I tried to hit faster serve to have a good rally afterward.”
Nishikori routinely handled Rublev
Nishikori claimed the first break of the match in the fourth game and then saved two break points in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead.
Rublev broke back in the seventh game but Nishikori claimed his second break of the match in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead.
Nishikori then realized his first set point in the following game.
Nishikori had the first break points of the second set but Rublev saved two break points in the fifth game.
But Rublev couldn’t do the same two games later as Nishikori broke the Russian in the seventh game and served out for the match in the 10th game.
Nishikori plays next American Marcos Giron, who beat Slovak Norbert Gombos 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-2.
As no breaks were seen in the first set — the set went into a tie-break — in which Giron realized his second set point to win a tight opener.
After losing the first set, Gombos earned two breaks in the second set to force a decider.
In the third set, Giron lost his serve once but claimed three breaks and that was enough for him to seal a three-set win.