His record in best of five is exceptional but is it avoidable? It feels like a matter of time before Kei Nishikori runs out of steam in Paris

Kei Nishikori’s record in best of five scenario is exceptional. 26 wins and 7 defeats, 78.78% win percentage in these situations.

It is the best winning percentage on the tour when pushed to the limit which is a good thing but the cynic in me stops me celebrating it.

In my opinion he makes life unnecessarily difficult for himself in a lot of situations, some are down to being pushed by players but others are just careless performances.

I saw a tweet which said, Kei may not win a major but his best of five set record is an exceptional feat and I thought, well it’s impressive but it’s rarely benefited the Japanese number one.

5 of these 26 wins have been against top 10 players at majors:

2008 US Open

6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 7-5 vs Ferrer R3 at US Open – following round? Lost in 3 sets to Del Potro

2012 US Open

2-6 6-2 6-1 3-6 6-3 vs Tsonga R4 at US Open – following round? Lost in 3 sets to Murray

2014 US Open

4-6 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 vs Raonic R4 at US Open
3-6 7-5 7-6 6-7 6-4 vs Wawrinka QF at US Open
6-1 1-6 7-6 6-3 vs Djokovic SF at US Open – following round? Lost in 3 sets to Cilic in Final

2016 US Open

1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5 vs Murray QF at US Open – following round? Lost in 4 sets to Wawrinka

2018 US Open

2-6 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-4 vs Cilic QF at US Open – following round? Lost in 3 sets to Djokovic

Apart from in 2014 when he made the final almost 7 years ago following up these wins have been tough for Kei. 1 set of tennis won in the following round in four of those five majors after winning a best of five the round before.

Since making the US Open final in 2014 we have seen Kei in this position 20 times however it has become a more regular occurrence.

Nine times in four majors since the beginning of 2019 he has been in a best of a five scrap. He has won eight of them which is quite impressive but it should have been avoided. I’m not doubting the talent of his opponent but for someone of Kei’s stature in mens tennis its avoidable. The average ranking of players he has played in those last nine is 70 and not one of them was a top 20 ranked player.

Like I have said it is an impressive record over five sets through his career but he runs out of steam in the big tournaments.

I like his game, on his day his groundstrokes are quite sensational but I now am thinking, how much is left in the tank for this tournament?

Kei has played two matches and has spent just over 8 hours on the court, I will be surprised if we see too much more…


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