Lucky loser Nishioka pulls off epic comeback to beat Berdych in Indian Wells

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Massive comeback: From Yoshihito Nishioka,

Japanese lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka continued his giant-killing spree in Indian Wells by pulling off a tremendous comeback to take out No13 seed Tomas Berdych and reach the fourth round.

The diminutive Nishioka, who beat 19th-seeded ace machine Ivo Karlovic in round two, fought back from a 1-6, 2-5 deficit to outlast Berdych 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a two-hour, 21-minute battle.

Nishioka, who lost to Elias Ymer in the final round of qualifying, only made it into the draw after Dmitry Tursunov withdrew with a leg injury. In an ironic twist of fate, Nishioka faced Ymer again, this time in the first round of the main draw, and beat the Swede to advance.

Following his impressive wins of Karlovic (who is 41cm taller than him) and Berdych, the 21-year-old Nishioka is now the first lucky loser to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells.

His win over Berdych was the biggest of his career and just the second over a top-20 player.

The 70th-ranked Japanese lefty next takes on third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3 to make the last-16.

“Today was wonderful coming back. But at the beginning I didn’t play my best tennis, but this is, I think, not technique and just on mentality, and then I never lost my mentality. That’s why I think I won today,” said Nishioka after his triumphant comeback.

“I was down 1-6, 2-5, and I tried to do my best, but today I couldn’t figure out how can I beat Berdych,” explained

“But down 2-5, I tried to find a way, and then I think he gave me a little bit chances. So I find a way, and then just kept trying every point. Then he showed me, like, a little bit angry, a little bit feeling tired. So I figured out how to win from down 2-5.

“And then my body feeling like I cannot move, like, that much, but just stay on focus and try fight. And then I find a way.”

Berdych, a semi-finalist in Indian Wells in 2013, held match point in the 10th game of the second set and served for the win twice but unraveled against an inspired Nishioka.

After Nishioka forced the decisive set by winning the tiebreaker, the two traded breaks to open the third before Nishioka broke for a 2-1.

Although Berdych saved one match point in the ninth game, Nishioka closed it out in the next with a love game to reach the fourth round of a Masters tournament for the first time.

Nishioka said he didn’t change his game plan match to complete his comeback but he noticed Berdych was visibly “nervous”.

“I think (in his) last match against Fratangelo, the time he was, I think, nervous as well in the second set. So I can see he’s going to be nervous. So, I mean, I didn’t know he gonna do, like, unforced errors like today. But, yeah, but I knew he gonna be nervous. I knew it,” added Nishioka.

Wawrinka reached the fourth round by maintaining his clean record against Kohlschreiber, making it five wins in five encounters with the German.

“It was a really good match,” said Wawrinka, who owns three grand slam titles but has won just one of the tour’s coveted Masters titles.

“The first set was not easy, for sure, but in general I’m happy with my game. I was serving well. I think I’m moving better and better and it’s all positive so far.”

With superstars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all jammed into the bottom quarter of the draw, Wawrinka’s path looks wide open. But the Swiss said he didn’t think of it that way.

“It’s not like I have been in a lot of semi-finals, finals in Masters 1000,” said Wawrinka. “So I need to focus on every match.”


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WATCH: Federer's five best performances of all time

Sport360 staff 13/03/2017

We’ve taken a trip down memory lane and revisited the Swiss’s best showings on a tennis court.

These are the performances that went a long way to cementing his legendary status.

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

5) US Open 2005 Final – Federer defeats Agassi 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1

Playing the great American under the Flushing Meadows lights, in what was Agassi’s last Grand Slam final, was a real treat for Federer and he produced some magical tennis to win his second title in New York.

It prompted 35-year-old Agassi to say: “I think Roger is the best I’ve played against. To watch him evolve has been amazing.”

That’s some compliment.

4) French Open 2009 4th Round – Federer defeats Haas 6-7 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2

This was undoubtedly the key match during Federer’s run through to his one and only Roland Garros title.

Playing against his close friend Tommy Haas, the Swiss had to battle back from two sets down to keep his French Open dream alive.

The fact Rafael Nadal had exited the tournament at the same hurdle was obviously playing on Federer’s mind but he dug deep when it mattered to finish the job strongly in the fifth.

3) London 2012 Olympics semi-final: Federer defeats Del Potro 3-6 7-6 19-17

The four-hour, 26-minute battle was the encounter of the tournament and longest tennis match in Olympics history.

Federer had to produce his greatest tennis to overcome an attacking onslaught from Juan Martin del Potro.

The third set, which spanned two hours and 43 minutes, took every ounce of energy and effort out of Federer as he finally prevailed on Centre Court.

For Federer, the manner of the semi-final victory must have almost felt like a final win and in truth he had little left in the tank as Andy Murray went on to thrash the Swiss in straight sets in the final.

It was true redemption for the Scot after losing to Federer in the Wimbledon final on the same court only a matter of weeks earlier.

2) Australian Open 2017 Final – Federer defeats Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

A few of you will be surprised that Federer’s historic 18th Grand Slam victory didn’t top the bill.

The maestro’s Melbourne success was the stuff of dreams and probably the most memorable match of his entire career.

But, aside from his stellar comeback in the fifth set when he looked down and out, it was a victory which carried a lot more weight due to the nature of his return from injury and beating long-term nemesis Nadal.

Those factors certainly outweigh the overall performance of Federer.

1) Wimbledon 2012 semi-final – Federer defeats Murray 7-5 7-5 6-4

The Swiss star enjoyed a truly vintage Friday afternoon in the London sun and produced an absolute masterclass, particularly on serve, to reach his 10th Wimbledon final.

Federer was at his sheer best and took Murray apart in straight sets – dropping just 21 points on serve in two hours and seven minutes.

He also only faced one break point in the entire match – which came in the very first game of the semi-final.

RF’s first serve percentage was around 80 per cent throughout and Murray could simply not lay a glove on him, as he backed this up with solid net and groundstroke play.

Federer went onto lose to Novak Djokovic in the final for the second consecutive year.

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Murray falls to Pospisil to suffer another early exit at Indian Wells

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Another loss: For Andy Murray at Indian Wells.

It remains a real mystery why Andy Murray and Indian Wells are not a good match and following the world No1’s shock opening round defeat to qualifier Vasek Pospisil on Saturday, the Scot admits he is puzzled by his lack of success there.

Murray had never dropped a set to the 129th-ranked Vospisil in any of their previous four meetings but was outplayed by the Canadian, who claimed the biggest win of his career with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) triumph.

For a second time this season, the world No1 has crashed out early to a serve-and-volley player, with the loss to Pospisil reminiscent of Murray’s exit to Mischa Zverev in the Australian Open fourth round last January.

But Murray insists it is not the attacking style of play that threw him off against Pospisil but it was his own serving that let him down.

Murray was up a break twice in the opening set but still lost it, and broke back to draw level in the second but faltered in the tiebreak to surrender.

“My results in my career have been fantastic against serve-and-volley players, so maybe it’s something I need to practice a little bit more,” said Murray after the loss. “But I have never really practiced playing against serve-and-volleyers in my career. But when I have come up against them, it’s normally been a game style I have enjoyed playing against.

“Today it wasn’t so much the serve/volley that was the problem. It was my own serve rather than not sort of getting enough opportunities when he was serving. So I think that was more the problem tonight.”

Anything is Pospisil: This was Vasek's fourth career top-10 win but first since 2014.

Anything is Pospisil: This was Vasek’s fourth career top-10 win but first since 2014.

The 26-year-old Pospisil, who had only three previous top-10 wins heading into the match and lost his last 11 encounters against top-10 opposition, was thrilled with his breakthrough success as he booked a third round meeting with Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

“I felt like a big result was coming, because I believe in my abilities, but just kind of had to put the pieces together again,” said Pospisil. “Obviously to beat the No1 player in the world is incredible. It’s the biggest win of my career, and I’m just thrilled right now.”

Pospisil, a Wimbledon doubles champion alongside Jack Sock in 2014, had a troubled 2016 season that saw him win just 10 matches, against 23 losses. He dropped out of the top-100 after starting the year ranked 39.

“Just personal things, professional things. Obviously, I don’t really want to get into all of the details, but it was a very distracting year, a lot of stuff going on off the court,” said Pospisil of the reasons behind his 2016 slump.

“Just wasn’t myself really, or the player that I have been my whole career, loving competition and being out there. Just kind of went through a little bit of a lull personally, and just kind of found my hunger again.

“That actually lasted for a very long time, almost the whole year, a long period of time. I learned a lot about myself. And, honestly, it was a good year in that aspect if I look at it.

“I feel like I came out a little bit more wise about life, about myself. I think that’s why I’m also now enjoying my time on the court so much more these days. The last few months I have been kind of stopping myself during matches and realising how happy I am to even be competing and playing tennis.”

Retired boxer Mike Tyson and actress/singer Katharine McPhee watch Pospisil defeat Murray.

Retired boxer Mike Tyson and actress/singer Katharine McPhee watch Pospisil defeat Murray.

Murray has made it past the quarters just once in Indian Wells in the last eight years and it’s only one of two Masters 1000 events the 29-year-old is yet to win.

On his sub-par record in the California desert, Murray said: “I don’t know exactly why it is, because in practice here normally I play pretty well. Some years I played well. Some years it just hasn’t quite happened for me. I don’t know exactly why that is.”


Murray has lost before the quarter-finals in five of his last appearances at Indian Wells. It remains the only Masters 1000 tournament, along with Monte Carlo, that continues to elude the Scottish world No1.

Vasek Pospisil bt Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6 (5)
After winning the Dubai title, it looked like Murray had got his season back on track but instead he lost to Pospisil for the first time in five meetings with the Canadian.

Federico Delbonis bt Andy Murray 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3)
Murray lost to a 53rd-ranked Delbonis last year after hitting 44 unforced errors and citing windy conditions as a hindrance. Murray was up a break in the third but still crashed out.

2014 LAST 16
Milos Raonic bt Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Raonic fired 15 aces in his three-set win over Murray on the 20th anniversary of his family’s emigrating from the former Yugoslavia (now Montenegro) to Canada.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez bt Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2
Murray said he was feeling great heading into Indian Wells that year but was blown off the court by Garcia-Lopez. The Brit was unable to convert all seven break points he created that day.

Donald Young bt Andy Murray 7-6 (4), 6-3
Murray fell to a 21-year-old Young, ranked 143 at the time. It came on the back of a first round loss in Rotterdam and a heavy defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

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