Nishioka Lifts Maiden Trophy In Shenzhen
Yoshihito Nishioka became the sixth qualifier to win a tour-level title this season at the Shenzhen Open, beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, appearing in his first ATP World Tour final, won 61 per cent of second-serve return points and withstood 12 aces from Herbert to lift his first tour-level trophy after two hours and 20 minutes. Nishioka, who tore his left ACL just 18 months ago at the 2017 Miami Open presented by Itaú, dropped seven straight games after leading 7-5, 2-0, but recovered well to record the biggest win of his career.
After Herbert’s strong fightback in the second set, both men were forced to work hard in their opening service games of the decider to remain level in the score. But Nishioka soon found a breakthrough in the fifth game. The qualifier opened up a 0/40 lead with strong play from the baseline, before earning the break with another aggressive backhand, forcing an error from Herbert at the net.
Three championship-point opportunities passed Nishioka by on Herbert’s serve at 5-3, but the Japanese qualifier did not falter on his own serve. Nishioka fell to the ground, after converting his fifth championship point, following Herbert’s netted forehand return.
Herbert was also bidding to lift his first tour-level singles title after a runner-up finish in his only previous championship match at the 2015 Winston-Salem Open. The 27-year-old has won 23 of 41 matches at tour-level this year.
Nishioka receives 250 ATP Ranking points and collects $130,885 in prize money for lifting the trophy. Herbert earns 150 ATP Ranking points and $68,930.