‘Calm’ Nishikori makes em­phatic Basel start

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ASIA’S best player Kei Nishikori played with zen-like calm to be­gin the Swiss In­doors yes­ter­day with a 7-5, 6-1 de­feat of Ser­bia’s Du­san La­jovic in Basel.

Nishikori, los­ing fi­nal­ist to Roger Fed­erer in 2011, played a con­trolled power game to earn a place in the sec­ond round, break­ing open the sec­ond set af­ter a tight first against the world No. 77.

“I try to stay calm on court, I don’t want to go up and down men­tally. I’m glad to be back (in Basel), I missed the last two years with in­juries,” said the Ja­panese world No. 5.

“It was a tough first set, we both played well,” he added. “In the sec­ond his level dropped a bit and mine got bet­ter.”

The event is miss­ing seven-time cham­pion Fed­erer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom have ended their sea­sons early be­cause of in­juries.

Nishikori takes the third seed­ing be­hind Switzer­land’s three-time Grand Slam win­ner Stan Wawrinka, the top seed, and Cana­dian Mi­los Raonic.

Nishikori, 26, is one of five play­ers al­ready qual­i­fied for Novem­ber’s World Tour Finals in Lon­don. Bat­tles for the last three spots are tak­ing place at ATP events this week and next.

Fourth seed Marin Cilic stayed in the points chase to Lon­don with a 6-4, 6-2 de­feat of Mikhail Youzhny.

Fed­erico Del­bo­nis of Ar­gentina beat the Rus­sian An­drey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-4 and Amer­i­can Don­ald Young eased past Ilia Marchenko 6-4, 6-2. – AFP

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