Kei Nishikori revealed that it was his error count that saw him lose to Novak Djokovic during Tuesday’s quarter-final at the Australian Open.
The world number one swept aside the Japanese star in straight sets on the hard courts of Melbourne.
“I sort of had a good start,” said the 26-year-old after the match.
“But when I lost the game with my serve, everything started, you know, changing. He started playing much better. I lost little bit confidence, started missing a lot.”
After losing the opening two sets, Nishikori finally broke Djokovic’s serve to take a 2-0 lead in the third.
While Djokovic broke back, the seventh seed managed another break to take a 3-1 lead.
But this was when the ten-time grand slam winner turned on the class to win the following four games in a row. Djokovic’s excellent returning ability was on full display, leaving Nishikori hapless at the other end.
“He returned well that game, both games,” he said of Djokovic’s double break.
“I think I rushed a little bit, too. I was missing some easy shots that I shouldn’t miss. Yeah, the third set I had most of the chances, but I couldn’t convert. Yeah, couldn’t keep up my tennis.”
From, a spectator’s point of view, it certainly looked as though Djokovic was invincible no matter what Nishikori threw at him.
However, he believed that it was his mistakes that were to blame for the loss, rather than Djokovic’s sublime tennis. With 54 unforced errors and just 31 winners, Nishikori has a point.
“I think today was more my game,” added the three-time Australian Open quarter-finalist.
“You know, I was missing too much, especially the first couple sets. I lost many easy games. I couldn’t make him work hard today. I mean, yes, he’s plays good. But I couldn’t play good tennis today.”
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