February 23, 2020 / 4:42 AM / a month ago

Nishioka rallies to upset Humbert in Florida semi-final

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 24, 2020 - Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in action during the match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

(Reuters) - Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka fought back from a sluggish start to overpower sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in a rain-interrupted semi-final at the Delray Beach Open in Florida on Saturday.

After winning only one game in the opening set, the unseeded Nishioka closed out the deciding third set without dropping a game in winning 1-6 6-4 6-0 in the battle of the two lefties.

Nishioka clinched the victory with his second match point when Humbert fired a forehand wide. It was the third time this week he has won from a set down.

“(I was) a little bit frustrated after the first set. But after the rain came, my mind reset and I just restarted again,” Nishioka said. “The rain coming was pretty lucky for me, maybe. It helped.”

Nishioka will go for his second ATP Tour victory on Sunday when he faces the winner of the semi-final between second-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada and American fourth seed Reilly Opelka that was rained out on Saturday and rescheduled for Sunday morning.

Nishioka won 27 of 37 points in the deciding set to defeat the Frenchman.

Early on, Humbert played controlled offence that saw him make few errors. But after the rain in the second set, Nishioka was able to break down Humbert’s game and put on more pressure.

“After the first set I just figured out how to play against him and just kept trying to do it and then it worked,” Nishioka said. “From the second set I say, ‘Okay, let’s do it this way.’”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Sandra Maler and Kim Coghill

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