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Kei Nishikori captures first championship in nearly three years at Brisbane International

Kyodo

Kei Nishikori dug himself out of an early hole on Sunday to defeat Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the men’s final of the Brisbane International.

For Nishikori, the tournament’s second seed and world No. 9, it was his first tour victory since he won his fourth straight Memphis Open title in June 2016. The two last met at last year’s Rakuten Japan Open final, when the Russian beat Nishikori in straight sets.

The victory in the Australian Open warm-up event is Nishikori’s 12th career tour championship.

“I’m really happy to win the championship,” Nishikori said. “I’m glad I could get revenge for Medvedev beating me at last year’s Rakuten Japan Open.”

“I want to come here next year and win again.”

Nishikori bounced back from a three-game hole in the first set, holding his serve after trailing 0-15 in the fourth game and reeling off four straight games before the Russian finally held serve.

After clinching the first set, Nishikori laid siege to his opponent’s serve in the second, but couldn’t break him. Instead, Medvedev scored the first breakthrough, going up 5-3 in the eighth game and then squaring the match in an abrupt turnabout.

In the decisive third set, Nishikori broke in the fourth game to go up 3-1. After losing only one point in his next service game, Medvedev netted three straight returns, helping Nishikori break him again in the sixth.

With his back to the wall, the Russian broke Nishikori in the subsequent game to keep the Japanese from serving out the match. But it went for naught when Nishikori then won all four points against Medvedev’s serve to clinch the title.