Kei Nishikori and Ryan Sweeting in the final of 2011 US Men’s Clay Court Championships

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Kei Nishikori and Ryan Sweeting in the final of 2011 US Men’s Clay Court Championships
Japanese tennis-pro Kei Nishikori defeated Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday to reach the final of 2011 US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston.
The 21-year-old Nishikori made a great start in the first semifinal claiming his first service game of the opening set comfortably. The Japanese had his first chance of breaking the serve in fourth game of the set when he secured
a crucial game score 3-1 lead with a forehand winner down the line.  Nishikori wrapped up the set 6-3 after he held on to his serve games.
The second set was played on a more competitive note. Both players exchanged breaks and got involved in several long rallies. Nishikori earned four successive points to lead by 6-4, serving for the match. He then secured his next
serve game with ease to complete his straight sets win.
Nishikori dominated his opponent in serve return, securing more than 50 per cent of the points.  Cuevas on the other hand wasted his chances as he managed only three out nine break chances he had in the match. In a post match interview
he admitted that he made too many mistakes under pressure which proved to be conclusive at the end.
Ranked 61st in the world, Nishikori won his maiden ATP title back in 2008 at Delray Beach. In the final he stunned top seeded James Black 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and became the first Japanese player to win an ATP tournament in
nearly 16 years. However, since then he has struggled to find his peak form and missed several tournaments due to health and fitness issues. The Japanese tennis-pro certainly looks in better physical shape now and will be hoping for his second career triumph
here at Houston tennis championships.
Meeting Nishikori in the final will be Ryan Sweeting of United States. The American eased past Croat Ivo Karlovic 7-6, 6-3 to book his place in the final of 250 series ATP tournament.
Both players made an aggressive start to the second semifinal. Sweeting made the first serve break with a lovely chip shot. Karlovic broke back immediately to level the score 3-3. The contestants held on to their serve games as
the set went into a tie-breaker. The American displayed some crafty tennis and took the first set 7-6 with a powerful backhand winner.
Sweeting made most of the physiological advantage he had gained in the following set by playing his natural game with freedom. He executed his backhand and forehand shots to perfection and made his opponent look completely ineffective.
Although the American has given some considerable performances since the start of this season, he is still very new to the ATP arena and can expect a really tough time against the resurgent Japanese.



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