Delic Downs No. 1 Seed to Advance to Quarterfinals
Also picks up win in doubles with Bobby Reynolds
Courtesy: Illinois Athletics
URBANA, Ill. – Former Illini Amer Delic gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about Wednesday, as he upset the No. 1 seed, Kei Nishikori, in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to earn a spot in the quarterfinal round at the JSM Challenger at Atkins Tennis Center. Nishikori entered the match ranked a season-high No. 101 in the world, while Delic, who received a wild card into the tournament, is ranked No. 696 after returning to action just this past September after recovering from a knee injury.
“It definitely feels great to get a win, especially over a player like Kei Nishikori, who’s super talented and has been playing well,” Delic said. “This was not even my 10th match of the year, so it’s great. I had a good start and served well. That’s what kept me in the match. When I was down on my service games, I was able to pull them out and it put a little bit more pressure on him and I think it kind of got to him. Second set I had a loose game, but I was able to get it back and pull away in the end.”
Tied at five in the first set, Delic held serve to take a 6-5 advantage, before breaking Nishikori to take the opening set and continued that momentum into round two. Nishikori led 3-2 in the second set, before Delic broke him to tie it at three and never looked back. This was the pair’s second-ever match and first since 2008, when Nishikori won in three sets, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2.
“He had a good serve today,” Nishikori said. “I had a couple of chances in the first set. He had many aces and I could have done better on my first serve. I think he played a great match today though.”
Delic will meet current USC junior Steve Johnson in the quarterfinals on Thursday not before 3:30 p.m. Johnson knocked off James Lemke, 6-4, 6-4 earlier today. The 20-year-old All-American is ranked seventh in the preseason ITA national rankings and split time at No. 1 and 2 singles for the 2010 NCAA champion Trojans.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals were second-seeded Peter Luczak, fifth-seeded Bobby Reynolds, sixth-seeded Alex Bogomolov, Jr., Fritz Wolmarans, Michael Yani and Jesse Witten.
In doubles, Delic and Reynolds cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory and will face former Illini Marek Czerwinski and Ryan Rowe in the quarterfinals tomorrow not before 7 p.m.
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