Kei Nishikori confident about another US Open run

Kei-Nishikori US Open Tennis

Nishikori, who surged into prominence with his run to the US Open final two years ago, said he is a better player now and buoyed by his strong showing at the Rio Olympics where he defeated 14-time Slam winner Rafael Nadal to claim the bronze.

“I think I’m little more patient and playing much better than last year, two years ago. You know, I’m really excited for next week,” the 26-year-old Japanese told reporters at Flushing Meadows.

“I feel a lot of special feeling here in the US Open, a good memory from two years ago.”

One year after he became the first Asian to reach a men’s Grand Slam final, Nishikori in 2015 suffered a stunning first-round, five-set loss to 41st-ranked Benoit Paire of France.

Nishikori took the U.S. National Tennis Center by storm in 2014, beating Canada’s Milos Raonic and third seed Stan Wawrinka in successive five-set struggles before ousting Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

He fell short of lifting the winner’s trophy, however, as he fell to big-serving Croat Marin Cilic in the final.

Nishikori has enjoyed a fine hardcourt season, highlighted by a trip to the Toronto final and his appearance on the podium at the Rio Games to collect a bronze medal after a three-set win against 14-times slam winner Nadal.

While Nishikori feels good about his game, he knows other prominent players are also hitting top form for the year’s last grand slam championship, starting with top seed Djokovic and Wimbledon and Olympic winner Andy Murray, the second seed.

“I think those two guys are doing really well. I think Andy has a lot of chance to beat Novak,” said sixth-seeded Nishikori.

“But I think a couple young guys, Raonic and Cilic, is back on track again. I think it’s going to be a tough tournament.”

Nishikori’s first opponent will be unseeded Benjamin Becker of Germany.

“He has great serve, aggressive player. It’s not going to be easy, but I hope I can have great preparation these few days and ready,” said the Japanese.

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