Former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori again failed to beat Alexander Zverev but he was satisfied with the way he competed against the German at the Rome Masters. Nishikori, now ranked at No. 45 in the world, lost to Zverev last week at the Madrid Masters.
This week, Nishikori and Zverev again clashed, this time in Rome, and the German again claimed the win. Nishikori suffered a straight-set loss to Zverev in Madrid but pushed him to three sets in Rome as the German won this time 4-6 6-3 6-4.
"Zverev played at much faster pace in Madrid while this time we had many rallies because the court was heavier. Sometimes I was not able to play aggressively due to heavy court, and especially in the end of the match he took a bit more risk & that worked pretty well for him," Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
Nishikori had his chances against Zverev
Zverev saved two break points in the opening game, before breaking Nishikori in the following game. But Zverev wasn't up by a break too long as Nishikori broke back in the third game.
Nishikori earned his second break of the set in the seventh game, before serving out for the opener in the 10th game. Nishikori then made a good start to the second set, having taken an early 3-1 lead. After taking a 3-1 lead, Nishikori's game shut down as Zverev claimed back-to-back breaks to win five games in a row and force a decider.
Nishikori was also up by a break in the third set but Zverev again claimed two breaks to overturn the deficit and this time complete a comeback win. "I had good feelings, think I couldn't stay focused, that caused the defeat.
Maybe not played at my best, but better than last week.
I have not won many matches, so in terms of my confidence it's hard to set a goal in RG, just would like to win as many matches as possible," Nishikori added.
Zverev, a former world No. 3, was happy with the way he performed against Nishikori at the Rome Masters. "I think my aggressive play fits better the altitude, it's as simple as that," Zverev said in his on-court interview.
"The conditions definitely fit Kei better, but at the end of the day I'm happy with the match... Right now, I'm just happy to be in the quarter-finals."