Tennis

Kei Nishikori bounced from Monte Carlo Masters in second round

Kyodo

Kei Nishikori had no answer for some magical shot making by world No. 49 Pierre Hugues Herbert, who won their second-round match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

Nishikori, ranked sixth in the world and seeded fifth at the clay-court event, lost 7-5, 6-4 to the Frenchman, who he had played twice in his career on hardcourts and won both times.

In the fifth game, Nishikori squandered four break points in a seven-minute, 44-second game as Herbert held serve to take a 3-2 lead. Nishikori then had to fight to hold serve. The Frenchman pulled another rabbit out of his hat with some amazing shots to hold serve in an eight-minute ninth game.

Herbert continued his magic act to hold serve in the 11th game, barely getting to what looked like a winner from Nishikori and firing back an off-balance winner past Nishikori at the net. He then took the match’s first service break and held serve to take the set.

The second set was a virtual repeat, with no service breaks until Nishikori failed to hold serve in the 10th and final game.