Nishikori beats Paire in five-set thriller

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori fought back from two-sets-to-one down to defeat Frenchman Benoit Paire at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

The Japanese star, who is seeded just 19th this year after missing much of the season through injury, came through his first real test in Paris with flying colours, beating Paire 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in front of a raucous crowd to book his place in the third round.

The early signs were positive for Nishikori as he wrapped up the first set in just 31 minutes courtesy of two late breaks.

But it was a different story in the second and third sets, as Paire lifted his game and drew a number of errors from his opponent’s racket. The Frenchman won both sets to turn the tables on his opponent – much to the delight of the French crowd – but Nishikori wasn’t done yet.

The 28-year-old lifted his game in the fourth set, improving his first serve percentages and cutting down on the unforced errors to regain control of the match.

He levelled the scores courtesy after converting two break points and then pounced late in the fifth with a couple more breaks to wrap up the victory after three challenging hours on court.

Next up for Nishikori is another Frenchman, Gilles Simon, who upset 12th seed Sam Querrey on Tuesday.

Nishikori was joined in the third round by eighth seed David Goffin, who was one of the few seeds to have a relatively easy time of it on Wednesday.

The Belgian beat 19-year-old Frenchman Corentin Moutet 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to set up a third-round clash with either Gael Monfils or Martin Klizan.

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