|Posted on December 3, 2016 at 5:30 PM|
The Japan Warriors notch their first win
03 December 2016
Kei Nishikori takes the decisive set to give his team the three points.
Home favourite Kei Nishikori landed just in time to join his teammates and help them secure their first win for the Japan Warriors at the Saitama Super Arena on the second day of action at the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League.
Coach Josh Eagle took full advantage of his local hero and used him not just in Men’s Singles but also in the Doubles. The home crowd went crazy when the 27-year-old smiling Nishikori took to the court.
After a defeat on Day 1, the home team of this year’s first leg clinched their first three points of this year's IPTL with a very convincing 23-20 victory against the UAE Royals.
In the first set, Jelena Jankovic gave a welcome boost to the Warriors' confidence with a stunning win over Martina Hingis, who later in the second set partnered Daniel Nestor to level the match.
It was pure electricity and quality in the Legends set, when Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic and Marat Safin rolled back the years and showed that they've still got it. In a very intense duel, it was the big Croat who edged the Russian, right on time to keep the match alive for the Royals.
Eagle saved Nishikori for the last two sets. Although he lost with Fernando Verdasco in the Men’s Doubles match against two very experienced doubles players like Daniel Nestor and Pablo Cuevas, the Japanese hero made amends in the Men’s Singles set that served as the tiebreaker.
The deciding set started with Nishikori at a disadvantage, since the Warriors were trailing 16-18 overall. Across the net, trying to make it two wins out of two, was the Royals' main man Tomas Berdych. But Nishikori couldn't have made a better start as he quickly turned around the scoreboard.
It was a flawless performance from the Shimane native, who celebrated point after point with his adoring crowd. The wait was worth it as Nishikori blasted past Berdych to seal the win.
What Kei Nishikori said:
“I am happy to come back this year again. This is a wonderful event not just for the players but also for the Japanese crowd. It is very exciting and different to any other tournaments so I really enjoy it.”
“It is very important for me to play here in front of my home crowd. You don’t get that much opportunities to play at home so I do it every time that I can. This is a great chance for me but also for the players that can join us in this event.”