Kei Nishikori beats American Taylor Fritz to take Memphis Open

By The Sports Xchange
Kei Nishikori beats American Taylor Fritz to take Memphis Open
Kei Nishikori of Japan. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

Japan's Kei Nishikori earned his fourth consecutive Memphis Open championship, knocking off upstart American teen Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4 in the final Sunday.

Nishikori joined Jimmy Connors as the only players to win four titles in Memphis. The only other active players who captured any event four years in a row are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.


"It's amazing to win four in a row," Nishikori said. "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.

"I felt a lot of support even here in the US against an American. A lot of Japanese came out today."

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Fritz, 18, became the youngest American player to appear in an ATP final since Michael Chang in 1989. He is ranked 145th in the world, while Kishikori is ranked seventh.


"I definitely didn't expect to get to a (ATP World Tour) final so quickly," Fritz said. "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."

Nishikori, 26, captured the 11th singles title of his career. Last year, in addition to winning at Memphis, he earned championships in Barcelona and Washington, D.C.

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Slovakia's Martin Klizan rallied yet again, beating fifth-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-1 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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Klizan, who is ranked 43rd, was down five match points against sixth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, and he survived three match points for Nicolas Mahut in the semifinals before coming back from a set down to top Monfils.

"I cannot believe that it happened," said Klizan, who improved to 4-0 in career finals. "It was my dream to be on the board with these unbelievably great players. It's an amazing feeling. Every day I was just fighting. Most of the time I had three-hour matches every day, so the only thing I could do was fight. In the end I saved so many match points. I still cannot believe it.



Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, a 22-year-old Austrian, earned his fourth ATP crown, topping unseeded Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (4) to prevail in Buenos Aires.

"It's the best of my titles so far because the tournament draw was so strong," Thiem said. "You need a bit of luck to win these kinds of tournaments, but it's probably been the best week of my career."

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