Kei Nishikori

‘I hate playing five sets’ – Kei Nishikori extends remarkable record at French Open

Five-set specialist Kei Nishikori is through to the French Open third round after defeating Karen Khachanov in a thrilling five set battle.

Nishikori won an epic four hour match with Alessandro Giannessi in round one, and he needed the full compliment of sets to get the job done in round two as well.

“I just tried to stay calm. Losing the third set was hard,” Nishikori said after his 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win. “Playing an aggressive tennis was the key to win.

“Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I’m not doing this on purpose.” Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both have 30 wins in fifth set deciders, Nishikori is sixth on the list with 25 wins.

The match had many momentum switches, with both players producing some outstanding tennis. Nishikori battled hard to force a decider, and was looking to better his record of 24-7 in fifth set deciders. The Japanese star took chances in the big moments and won the final set 6-4.

With both winners (57) and unforced errors (56) Nishikori’s stunning all-round game eventually reaped rewards and secured his place in round three, he will face Henri Laaksonen.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.