NEW YORK, September 8, 2016
Kei Nishikori upset second seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals of the US Open on Wednesday. In a back-and-forth contest that featured 17 breaks of serve, the Japanese was ultimately the more settled player during the match’s tightest moments. He took the three-hour and 57-minute contest 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“It was tough to stay calm,” said Nishikori. “He started very well in the beginning, there were a lot of ups and downs in the match. But I tried to stay tough and I’m very happy to win.”
The previous time Nishikori reached the US Open semi-finals he went on to contest for his maiden Grand Slam title match before falling to Croatian Marin Cilic in 2014. In this year’s semi-finals, the sixth seed will face Stan Wawrinka.
The tournament’s number three from Switzerland fought past Juan Martin del Potro, winning 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the late-night-match. Wawrinka sent down 10 aces and finished the encounter with his 53rd winner, hitting a backhand down the line to seal victory in three hours and 12 minutes.
“It was an amazing match for me, very tough mentally as well as physically. I need some sleep now but I am looking forward to the semis,” a tired Wawrinka told during his on-court interview at 01:25 am.
Wawrinka leads the head to head record over Nishikori 3-2, but lost the last encounter between the two in the semi-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 in Toronto.
Also on Wednesday, Nishikori was named the 2016 US Open Sportmanship Award winner. The Award has been given out annually since 2012. It’s presented to the professional tennis players who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open.
“It’s a great honor to get the Sportmanship Award,” said Nishikori. “I try to stay calm and not have too many ups and downs. It’s great to show that other people that I’m always staying tough.”
Williams To Face Pliskova In the Semis
Women’s top seed Serena Williams reached her sixth straight semi-final at Flushing Meadows with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over the tournament’s number five Simona Halep.
“I feel great. I’m glad I got tested,” Williams told press after the match. “I think her level really picked up in the second, but I had some opportunities that I didn’t take.
“So what I gather from that is I really could have played better in that second set and maybe had an opportunity to win in straights. I think if anything, that’s the biggest silver lining I take.”
Up next for the world number one is 10th seed and Cincinnati champion Karolina Pliskova. The 24-year-old Czech, who had never made it into the second round of a major before, advanced into the semi-finals by calmly and methodically routing the 18-year-old, unseeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia, 6-2, 6-2, in just 57 minutes.
“I was kind of nervous this morning, before the match,” Pliskova said of playing in her first major quarterfinal. “But always when I get on the court I just forget about everything and I’m not nervous anymore. I’m just trying to play tennis. Maybe I will think about all what I have been playing last few weeks after the tournament, but right now I just don’t want to, you know, put it in too much inside me. I just want to play.”