Second seed Japan’s Kei Nishikori won the 2019 Brisbane International Tennis title after he defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev, seeded fourth, in Sunday’s final 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
It was an ideal start to the New Year for the world number nine, which will put him in great heart for the Australian Open which starts a week on Monday. It also gave him his 12th ATP title, and, perhaps more importantly, his first for almost three years since claiming victory at the Memphis Open in February 2016.
Going into the match, the pair were very evenly matched, at least on paper, having played each other twice before, both last year, with the results split evenly between the two of them.
In fact, Medvedev may even have been regarded as slight favourite as his victory came on the hard surface of Tokyo, whereas Nishikori’s was achieved on the clay of Monte Carlo.
And that seemed to be borne out by the early exchanges, as Medvedev raced into an easy three-love lead in the first set, breaking the Nishikori serve at the first time of asking.
However, Nishikori is renowned for his ability to return serve and play from the baseline, and so it proved here, as he broke back, and then broke again, to claim the first set 6-6.
The Russian, currently ranked 16 in the world, then fought back in the second set and earned the vital break that enabled him to serve out the set 6-3.
However, any hopes that he had of winning the match were dashed by the Japanese whose forehand began to dominate in the third set, wearing down Medvedev’s resistance, as he gave up his serve twice.
In the end, Nishikori was able to close out the match easily, and add his name to the roster of past Brisbane winners which includes Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and, most recently, Nick Kyrgios.
In addition to the crown, Nishikori pockets a cheque of US $90,000 for his win.