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Kei Nishikori did not perform up to par at the Indian Wells
Oct 14, 2021, 3:32:00 AM

Kei Nishikori did not perform up to par at the Indian Wells

Kei Nishikori was bounced out of the Indian Wells Masters by Dan Evans in the second round. It was a disappointing result for the former world number four because most fans and pundits saw him as a favourite to win the event.

Amidst all of the hype before the match regarding Kei, he was suffering behind the scenes. He was dealing with a back injury that hurt his practice sessions. Before his first-round match against João Sousa, he barely got to train because his back was hurting him too much. He ended up winning the match but it had a significant impact on how he played tennis.

In the match against Evans, Kei felt fine but he was not playing up to par. This was a disappointing performance because he had a good matchup against Evans. Kei was even favoured before the match because his style was suited to match up well against the British star.

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Kei regrets the unforced errors

After the match, Kei blamed the loss on his unforced errors. He had the momentum to win the match but Evans came back to take the victory on a scoreline of 4-6, 6-3 and 6-4. It was a disappointing loss knowing that Kei was supposed to win the match if he didn’t make too many mistakes.

Kei said, ‘At some moments I played well, but overall I made more unforced errors than usual. Wish I could have moved him around, but I kinda played too carefully, made lots of mistakes, wheels came off. I was able to move him around in the first set, but from the seconds set the momentum shifted in rallies, I started making more errors especially in my service games, I played passively with pressure. Slow surface didn't allow me to play at first tempo, that was difficult’.

This can be attributed to his lack of preparation because of his back injury. Unfortunately, Kei had to go through those issues because Indian Wells was supposed to be a return to his fine form from his stellar past.

Kei will now focus on the indoor season

Kei admits that he has played well in the 2021 season. Now, he is focusing on his next stretch of tournaments. He said, ‘I will play Vienna next. It's for the first time in a while to play an indoor, I don't have specific goals for remaining three tournaments, just want to play as many matches as possible. I will try to get back that great feeling as soon as possible to be ready for the European indoor season’.

Indian Wells was supposed to be the start of another stellar run for Kei but he will have to make a quick move to the indoor format so he can return to the top level of the ATP Tour again.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA