January 9, 2017 / 6:30 AM / a year ago

Nishikori pulls out of Sydney exhibition to rest hip

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Kei Nishikori has pulled out of an exhibition event in Sydney to recover from a hip injury, with the Japanese world number five reluctant to take any risks ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

Tennis player Kei Nishikori of Japan poses for the cameras in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, January 9, 2017 before the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne begins January 16. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The world number five needed a lengthy injury timeout in the Brisbane International men’s singles final after drawing level in the second set against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Nishikori went on to lose the deciding set, suffering a first defeat to Dimitrov in four meetings.

“I hurt it during the match yesterday in the final. It’s not too bad but obviously I needed some rest,” the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up said.

The 27-year-old, who beat Stan Wawrinka in the Brisbane semi-finals, hopes to recover in time for Melbourne Park, where the year’s first grand slam begins on Monday.

”It was a really tough tournament,“ Nishikori said. ”There were five of the top 10 in the tournament.

“I played Dimi in the final and it was another tough match and I used a lot of energy on the court last week.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford

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