Australian Open

Nishikori outlasts Kuznetsov in five-set dogfight

2017-01-16 07:38
Kei Nishikori (Getty)

Melbourne - Japan's big hope Kei Nishikori survived a gruelling five-set examination in the first round to advance in scorching conditions at the Australian Open on Monday.

The fifth seeded Nishikori came through a dogfight with 48th-ranked Russian Andrey Kuznetsov to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 in 3hr 34min and maintain his unbeaten record in five-set matches in Melbourne.

It was Nishikori's fourth five-set win at the Australian Open, and set him up for a second-round encounter with Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

"It wasn't easy, especially mentally and I should have finished it in four sets," Nishikori said.

"I was more relaxed and really focused in the fifth set and I'm really happy to get through the first round."

Kuznetsov had Nishikori in trouble in the opening set, breaking him twice before serving out the set with his third set point.

But the Japanese star found his groove in the second set, reeling off a double break to level the set scores in 30 minutes.

Kuznetsov wouldn't lie down and got an early break in the third set in rising temperatures on Hisense Arena, but Nishikori quickly broke back.

Nishikori applied bags of ice to the back of his neck during the changeovers.

Nishikori took command in the third set after Kuznetsov began to show the effects of the battle, noticeably limping between points.

But the Russian refused to give in and fought back from 2-5 down in a tiebreaker to take the gruelling match into a fifth set.

Nishikori came home strongly in the final set, grabbing an early break and rounding it off when Kuznetsov double-faulted on the second match point.

Results from the Australian Open on Monday:

Men's singles

1st round

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 4-0 ret

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Tomas Berdych (CZE x10) bt Luca Vanni (ITA) 6-1 ret

Viktor Troicki (SRB x29) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 6-3

Alex De Minaur (AUS) bt Gerald Melzer (AUT) 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1

Sam Querrey (USA x31) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4

Mischa Zverev (GER) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4

Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2

Bernard Tomic (AUS x27) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 6-2, 6-1, 6-4

Victor Estrella (DOM) bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 0-6, 6-3

Sam Querrey (USA x31) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4

Women's singles

1st round

Irina Begu (ROM x27) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4

Samantha Crawford (USA) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x7) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 7-5, 6-4

Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Simona Halep (ROM x4) 6-3, 6-1

Mona Barthel (GER) bt Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Monica Puig (PUR x29) bt Patricia Tig (ROM) 6-0, 6-1

Varvara Lepchenko (USA) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x19) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)

Duan Yingying (CHN) bt Rebecca Sramkova (SVK) 6-3, 6-4

Julia Goerges (GER) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) bt Laura Siegemund (GER x26) 6-1, 1-6, 6-4

Alison Riske (USA) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 7-5, 6-3

Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Irina Khromacheva (RUS) 6-2, 6-1

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x32) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-4 ret

Kristina Kucova (SVK) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-4, 6-0

Venus Williams (USA x13) bt Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 7-6 (7/5), 7-5

Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) bt Vania King (USA) 6-3, 6-2

Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) bt Anna Tatishvili (USA) 6-4, 6-3

Zhang Shuai (CHN x20) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-0, 6-3

Pauline Parmentier (FRA) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-5, 7-5

Read more on:    australian open  |  kei nishikori  |  tennis
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