Nishikori quashes Coric in Tokyo

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

De­fend­ing cham­pion Kei Nishikori sur­vived a coura­geous am­bush at­tempt from Croa­t­ian teenager Borna Coric to reach the sec­ond round of the Ja­pan Open yesterday.

Play­ing his first match since help­ing Ja­pan pre­serve their place in the Davis Cup world group with vic­tory over Colom­bia last month, sec­ond seed Nishikori had to work ex­tremely hard for his 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 win in Tokyo.

Coric, who stunned Andy Mur­ray in Dubai ear­lier this year, threat­ened to spring another up­set af­ter ex­plod­ing from the blocks to take the first set, seal­ing it with a vi­cious kick serve which forced Nishikori into a wild re­turn.

But Nishikori, who cur­rently fea­tures in a Ja­panese tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial for in­stant noo­dles dressed as a samu­rai and smash­ing a hap­less blond-haired op­po­nent with a sword in­stead of a rac­quet, awoke from his slum­ber just in time.

He came roar­ing back to take the sec­ond set be­fore fin­ish­ing the job in bru­tal fash­ion -- an ace to give him match point and a huge serve to the body, floor­ing the 18-year-old Coric.

“He made it hard for me at the start,” said the world No 6, who has owned the Tokyo cen­tre court in re­cent years, win­ning two of the last three Ja­pan Open crowns.

“I knew what I was do­ing wrong and it was a ques­tion of cut­ting down on the er­rors,” added Nishikori, chas­ing a fourth ti­tle of the year and the 11th of his ca­reer.

“I had to for­get about the first set and once I did that I pro­duced some de­cent stuff,” he added.

Kei Nishikori of Ja­pan in ac­tion dur­ing the Davis Cup World Group Play-off sin­gles match be­tween San­ti­ago Gi­raldo of Colom­bia and Kei Nishikori of Ja­pan at Club Cam­pestre on Septem­ber 20, 2015 in Pereira, Colom­bia

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