Nishikori rallies to set up Raonic Tokyo final

Sat Oct 4, 2014 9:58am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Local favorite Kei Nishikori overcame an injury scare to labor past Benjamin Becker and set up a Tokyo Open final clash against Canada's Milos Raonic, who enjoyed a more routine victory in the other semi on Saturday.

Nishikori dropped the first set and needed courtside treatment on a hip injury ahead of the decider before prevailing 4-6 6-0 7-6(2) in a duel that lasted an hour and 47 minutes.

Becker nearly silenced the 10,000 spectators at the Ariake Colosseum by claiming the first set when Nishikori hit a forehand return into the net.

The local fans soon found their voice, however, when U.S. Open finalist Nishikori bounced back in style, storming through the second set with the concession of just 11 points.

Nishikori raced to a 3-1 lead in the decider but Becker refused to throw in the towel and broke back to eventually force a tie-breaker that his opponent dominated.

"It was a tough match," Nishikori told reporters. "He started really well and I have to give him credit for the first set. I started playing well in the second and it was really tough in the third set.

"In the tie-break, I was able to raise my level and I used my forehand better.

"I experienced nerves so I tried to focus on my first serve, because he was serving bombs. They were tough to return. In the tie-break anything can happen and I got lucky," he added.


Kei Nishikori of Japan wipes his neck during the men's singles final match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2014.      REUTERS/Adam Hunger