MEMPHIS, February 15, 2016
Kei Nishikori claimed his fourth consecutive Memphis Open crown, winning Sunday’s final 6-4, 6-4 against US-American teenager Taylor Fritz.
The top-seed from Japan withstood nine aces and capitalized on three of his 14 break point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 19 minutes. Nishikor notched his 11th ATP World Tour title and first since prevailing at the Citi Open in Washington last August. He becomes the fourth active player to four-peat at a tournament, joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“It’s amazing to win four in a row. I tried not to think about it too much this week. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. It was a tough start again today, but I managed it better. I played better tennis as the match went on and I’m happier with the second set. I only gave him a few points on my serve in the last few games,” Nishikori told.
“We practised five or six times the past few years in California, so I know how he plays. I never beat him before, so I was happy to beat him in a match. I tried different tactics to make him move more. He has very good reach so it’s not easy to hit winners, especially on these slow courts. I had to finish the points strong with my legs. He was tough to play.
“I felt a lot of support even here in the US against an American. A lot of Japanese came out today,” Nishikori said and is just the second player in Memphis’ history to lift four trophies, joining Jimmy Connors (1978-79, ’83-84).
18-year-old Fritz capped a stunning week in reaching his first ATP World Tour final in just his third tour-level event. The teen will rise to the precipice of the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, after becoming just the fifth 18-year-old US-American to reach an ATP World Tour final in the past 30 years (Agassi, Chang, Roddick, Sampras).
“I definitely didn’t expect to get to a ATP World Tour final so quickly. It’s a great accomplishment to get here despite losing in the final. I had a great week and I have to be happy with the result. I have a lot of confidence moving forward. I need to get my body stronger and I can continue to play at this level,” Fritz looking forward to his next challenges.
“He started off a little tentative and was leaving some balls for me to step in and hit. He was making some mistakes, but he loosened up and started playing much better. After a couple games, the balls get heavier and are tough to put away. Kei’s such a fast player and incredible from the baseline and when I don’t have that to put the ball away, he got extremely tough.”
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez retained the Memphis doubles title, claiming their second team crown. It was Fyrstenberg’s 18th individual ATP World Tour doubles title in his 43rd final and Gonzalez’s 11th in 16 finals.
“It’s amazing. It’s not every day you can come back to the same tournament and win it again. It’s a tough tournament with great players. We are very happy to have the title again for confidence going into the next one. I have two kids, so one guitar for each kid. Hopefully next year I can come back and win another,” Gonzalez laughed after he had received the trophy in the form of a Gibson Guitar.
“It’s great to never lose matches here in Memphis It’s nice, especially after last season with the injuries. I had three injuries and Santiago had two. Hopefully this year will be injury-free and we’ll be going up in the ATP Doubles Rankings,” Fyrstenberg added.