Kei Nishikori will be hoping he has enough left in the tank for Rajeev Ram in the quarters of ATP Newport after a marathon second round win.
Nishikori did not look particularly comfortable on the Newport grass in his first round match and Asia's top player was always going to be made to toil by the experienced Olivier Rochus in the last sixteen. Rochus is a two-time Newport finalist and he knows exactly how to mix it up on this surface, using his single-handed backhand expertly to make life awkward for opponents.
Nishikori had his chances in the opening set and after blowing a 5-0 lead in the first set tiebreak, it wasn't easy for him to keep his composure but he managed to fight back to take the match 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s always tough when you have set point and you lose the set,” he said. “I just tried to forget the first set and concentrate on each game. Luckily I got a break in the third game. I was able to keep my fight going.”
He's now up against another player with considerable pedigree at this event. The 6'4 serve-volleying Ram won the singles and doubles titles at Newport in 2009 and he's enjoyed a couple of straight sets wins over Grega Zemlja and Michael Russell.
Prediction: Nishikori in three.