Kei Nishikori, the Japanese star once again proved to be an ironman on Wednesday when he fought back to beat Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in four hours for a place in the Roland Garros third round.
Three days on from another five-set comeback over Italian Alessandro Giannessi, the former World No. 4 refused to give in and improved to 26-7 in matches that go to five sets.
“I just tried to stay calm. Losing the third set was hard,” Nishikori said in his on-court interview. “Playing aggressive tennis was the key to win.
“Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I’m not doing this on purpose.”
The 31-year-old left it late, breaking Khachanov to love with his 57th winner in the final game. He has now won 10 of his past 11 five-set matches and has the best record among current players, according to the ATP Stats.
Next up for the Japanese will be Swiss world number 150 Henri Laaksonen, who ousted Spaniard 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-3 2-6 6-3 6-2 victory.
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