Japan’s Kei Nishikori backed up his run to last weeks Washington semi-finals by moving past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto.
The World No. 55, who advanced to the final in Toronto in 2016, struck the ball with great depth and accuracy, raising his level in the decider to advance in two hours and 10 minutes. The 31-year-old will next face seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz.
Nishikori defeated Brit Cameron Norrie in Washington en route to his first semi-final appearance since Barcelona in 2019. The 12-time tour-level titlist played with renewed confidence against Kecmanovic to level their ATP Head2Head Series at 1-1.
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After a tight start in the first set, Nishikori gained control in the fifth game as he took the only break point of the set to move 3-2 ahead. The 31-year-old stepped inside the baseline to dictate with his forehand as he moved Kecmanovic around the court to lead.
The Serbian responded well at the beginning of the second set as he played aggressively to force Nishikori into errors to lead 2-0. However, Nishikori replied immediately, levelling at 2-2 before the set moved to a tie-break. Kecmanovic then held his nerve from 5/5 in the tie-break, forcing a decider when Nishikori hit a backhand into the net. It was one-way traffic in the third set though, as Nishikori raced 4-0 ahead. He won the last eight points, serving it out to claim his victory.
Basilashvili, who has won titles in Doha and Munich this year, broke Brooksby six times to advance in one hour and 52 minutes and improve to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head Series.
Brooksby has been in red-hot form recently. The wild card advanced to the Newport final in July on his ATP Tour debut and reached the Washington semi-finals last week. As a result, Brooksby has risen from outside the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 99 in the past four months.
However, Basilashvili ensured the 20-year-old would not enjoy another dream run this week as he improved on return throughout the match. The 29-year-old won just 18 per cent (2/11) of points on Brooksby’s first serve in the opening set, but improved to 58 per cent (7/12) in the second set. Basilashvili found the decisive break in the ninth game of the third set and will next face 12th seed Alex de Minaur.