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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday February 21, 2020

 
Yoshihito Nishioka

Yoshihito Nishioka stopped American wild card Brandon Nakashima to reach the semis at the Delray Beach Open.

Photo Source: Christopher Levy

Yoshihito Nishioka inched closer to the Top 50 and virtually assured himself a career-high ranking by defeating 18-year-old American Brandon Nakashima at the Delray Beach Open on Friday.

Tennis Express

Nishioka logged a 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 over the first-time quarterfinalist in two hours and 24 minutes. He would need six match points to get past the cagey American, who showed tons of promise by reaching the quarterfinals and pushing Nishioka in his first ATP main draw.

Nakashima demonstrated a veteran’s poise in saving a break point at 5-6 30-40 in the second set with an ace. He then battled through a tense breaker but could not stop Nishioka, who converted his fourth set point to claim the breaker and force a decider.

Nishioka quickly raced out to a 5-1 lead in the third set but Nakashima refused to give up the chase and delivered some clutch tennis as he made first serves on four match points and saved them all to hold for 5-2.

Nakashima broke for 3-5 on a Nishioka double-fault and then held at love to put more scoreboard pressure on Nishioka.

Nakashima saved a fifth match point with Nishioka serving at 5-4 40-15 but the 24-year-old World No.63 finally got over the hump on the next point when Nakashima’s forehand found the net.


Nishioka is projected to surpass his career-high ranking of 58 by reaching the semifinals and he could make his Top 50 debut next week if he reaches the final.

In other action on Friday at Delray Beach, 21-year-old Ugo Humbert crushed 2018 champion Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-2 to reach his sixth career ATP semifinal. The Frenchman saved both break points he faced and broke Tiafoe four times on ten opportunities to become the first Frenchman to reach the semis in Delray Beach in five years.

Humbert and Nishioka will square off for a spot in the final tomorrow.

American Reilly Opelka was also a winner on Friday. The fourth seed powered past South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon 6-3 6-4 behind 16 aces and zero break points faced.

Opelka will face either Milos Raonic or Steve Johnson in the semis on Saturday.

 

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