Nishikori says Chang influence is paying off

Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:57am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Kei Nishikori reached the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time on Monday and said working with former world number two Michael Chang was paying dividends.

Nishikori needed only four games to complete a 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 defeat of Italian Simone Bolelli after their third round match had been halted by bad light on Saturday.

The 24-year-old 10th seed is enjoying the most consistent year of his career, reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the Madrid Masters final as well as claiming two ATP titles.

He said it was no coincidence that his form had improved after employing former French Open champion Chang.

"It's been great. Already it's six or seven months and yeah, I love how he coaches me. My tennis is also changing. You see my ranking is much higher than last year.

"So, obviously his help is something, for sure. I love how we are doing together right now."

Chang, born to Taiwanese parents, became a standard bearer for Asian tennis after winning the French Open in 1989.

Nishikori, now the new darling of Asian fans, is similar to Chang in physique and style and believes that he is now beginning to learn from the American's well-known mental toughness.   Continued...

Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts after defeating Simone Bolelli of Italy in their men's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville