Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori battles through epic French Open first round encounter

Kei Nishikori defeated qualifier Alessandro Giannessi in five sets to make it to the second round of the French Open. 

Kei Nishikori won out over the Italian 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a match that took over four hours to complete.

Nishikori had two match points at 4-5, 15-40 on the Giannessi serve in the fifth, but failed to convert, before eventually doing so in the same game.

Nishikori was stronger behind his first serve than the Italian, winning 73% behind it to Giannessi’s 59%.

While the Japanese was not the most consistent with 66 unforced errors to Giannessi’s 50, he outhit the Italian for 56 winners to 38.

The result means that Kei Nishikori has made it to the second round of the French Open for seven consecutive events, and has only failed to do so once when he has been in the main draw.

In 2021 so far, Nishikori has had a respectable season of 10-10, having initially struggled for form after returning from injury.

At Barcelona and Madrid, the Japanese star was only ousted by eventual champions Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev respectively, before losing again to Zverevin the third round of the Italian Open.

Kei Nishikori will face Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov in the French Open second round.