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Kei Nishikori practices Australian Open 2021

‘More significant win for Nishikori than some may realise,’ as Japanese superstar steps onto comeback trail

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Kei Nishikori has secured his first win of 2021, and potentially a huge result for an even more important moment in his career, by beating seventh seed and Rotterdam 2020 runner-up Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Nishikori has made it through to the second round of ABN AMRO Rotterdam with a 7-6 6-1 win over FAA. The result also represents Nishikori’s first top 20 win in just over two years since winning Brisbane 2019.

‘It was a very tight game’ Nishikori said following the match. ‘[In the] second set…I was more comfortable and striking the ball better.’

This win could be important for Nishikori’s 2021 and for his home Olympics in Tokyo. ‘More significant match win for Nishikori than some may realise,’ NBC Olympics reporter Nick Zaccardi tweeted after the match. ‘He needs to make up ground to get into Tokyo Olympic singles qualifying position.’

The Olympic qualifying process is complicated. Currently at World No. 45 and with qualification to be finalised in early June, Nishikori is certainly not guaranteed to compete as of right now. His fans seem to be happy with the performance and are hoping for more.

‘It was so good to watch Kei winning matches. I wanna see more of that in Rotterdam,’ @Phemystrings tweeted. ‘Spring has come to Kei 🌸 We all were waiting for it 🇯🇵’ said another.

Kei Nishikori will face Australian Alex De Minaur in the second round of Rotterdam.


Kei Nishikori practices Australian Open 2021
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