Kei Nishikori was simply too good for teenage sensation Taylor Fritz as he sealed a fourth-straight Memphis Open final on Sunday.
Nishikori defeated the 18-year-old American 6-4 6-4 as he continued his domination of the Memphis tournament.
“It’s been amazing. This is something I’ve never done before,” Nishikori said after his triumph.
“It’s something new, so I’m very happy for that.
“But I also have to congratulate Taylor. He beat some very good players at this tournament and he has a bright future.
“I’m sure he’ll be a top player very soon.”
Nishikori, the top seed, got a bit more than he might have bargained for from the wildcard entrant, who had become the first teenager to make an ATP final since 1979.
Fritz was playing his first game against a world top-10 opponent, and had never played a top-20 player before.
Fritz used his big serve to full effect to shoot to a 3-0 lead in the first set as the Japanese star struggled to come to terms with the young American’s power.
But Nishikori soon found his rhythm and got stuck into the American’s serve, while controlling his own service games to win three straight and tie the set at 3-3.
As momentum looked to shift, Fritz showed great resilience to hold serve and regain the lead, but Nishikori tested the American’s defence with some big hitting and prevailed to win the next three games to seal the first set.
Any hopes Nishikori had of an easy second set were quickly dispelled as Fritz came out firing and held his serve to take a 1-0 lead.
The world number seven had to fight hard to hold his own serve before Fritz held well to take a 2-1 lead, but Nishikori would soon get his break.
But not before he had to hold a seven-minute game to even the scores at 2-2, in which Nishikori handled some fierce hitting from the teenager.
Nishikori broke to move 4-2 clear but Fritz would not give up another break as the Japanese was forced to serve for the championship in the final game, emphatically smashing home the winner at 40-15 to seal his 11th career singles title.
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