2014 US Open runner up and #4 seed Kei Nishikori lost a tight five set thriller against flamboyant Frenchman Benoit Paire, 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-4, in which was perhaps the Frenchman’s biggest win of his career.
Paire has previously lost all four of his matches against top ten players, but was riding high at this moment in his career, having won the Bastard title only a few weeks ago.
US Open: 2014 finalist Nishikori Ousted in First Round of 2015 tourney
Paire is a player who doesn’t give his opponents a lot of rhythm, making it hard for a player to get a read on his game, something which the Japanese found difficult to do today on a packed Louis Armstrong court. Paire started the match in his typical fashion, his powerful and unconventional play saw his steal the first set 6-4.
It wasn’t until the second and third set that the 2014 US Open finalist finally got going, and with a 2-1 set lead it looked as though it would be the Japanese #1 who would cruise to victory.
With Nishikori entering the tournament without a lot of match practice due to injury problems, and the added pressure of reaching the final a year ago Nishikor,i looked to struggle. The fourth set certainly proved the toughest moment in the match for Nishikori, with the Japanese player managing to take it to a tiebreak but struggling to close it out.
At 3-5 down in the final set world #4 Nishikori held firm, forcing the Frenchman to serve out for the match. But with his back against the wall the former finalist showed real fight, forcing his opponent to play the more risky tennis in order to get the job done.
At 15-15 Paire threw in two fantastic first serves to produce 2 match points and with his first match point the World #41 produced yet another brilliant serve and finished it with an ace, finally beating a top ten player for the first time in his career and ultimately sending Nishikori packing.
Ivanovic Suffers First-Round Loss
Former World #1 tennis player Ana Ivanovic was beaten in the first round of the US Open in a three set tussle, a tournament which the Serbia has previously reached the quarterfinal stages.
The World No. 7 is all too familiar with early losses at majors in 2015; the Serbian was left winless at the Australian Open in January as well as suffering another early at Wimbledon, a second round defeat against qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Her poor form did find its range at the French-Open, where the former champ managed to reach the semifinals, which marked her best result in Paris since she won the title back in 2008.
Her first round defeat came at the hands of plucky Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, the two have faced each other only twice before, splitting their head-to-head at 1-1. It was Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open finalist, who started the match the better of the two women.
Despite not playing each other for over two years Cibulkova managed to get out of the blocks early, grabbing the first set 6-3. Ivanovic wouldn’t roll over without a fight, racing back to take the second and even the match at one set apiece.
When Ciulkova came to serve for the match at 3-5 the Serbian managed to claw back some break points, but at 15-40 Cibulkova raised her level, finally holding her nerve to win the match 6-3 3-6 6-3.
The Solvakian will next play either Jessica Pegula of the USA or Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck for a place in the third round.
Enjoy what you see? Check out all of our complete coverage of the 2015 US Open here.