Men’s Semifinal:  Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs.  Mischa Zverev (GER)
The psychological phenomenon of doing your best, fighting your hardest when you have the perceived or real threat of having your back against a wall is well-documented. It’s perhaps the reason why so many people procrastinate. When time is of the essence and you have no option but to get the job done, some people find their greatest inspiration and clarity. Nishikori performs at his best level when the threat of elimination is imminent as demonstrated by the fact that he leads the tour with the highest third set winning percentage.
Today was no exception, once again, after dropping the first set against Zverev, Nishikori found his back against the wall. His only option was to win the second set and force a deciding set if he wanted to get to the next round. It was a third set battle indeed. Zverev broke to go up 3-1 and was serving to get to 4-1 when Nishikori increased his intensity and started applying the pressure to his opponent. Interestingly it was Zverev who started struggling mentally with doubts; doubts that he could actually defeat the much higher ranked opponent. Needless to say, the minute the doubts crept in was the minute he lost his advantage and he did not get to 4-1.
Would Nishikori win another deciding set to win the match or would Zverev be the opponent that conquered the odds and won the set to win the match and advance to the final? Surprisingly Nishikori did not take control of the set and it was Zverev who battled back to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to get to his second career singles final. Will he win his first title tomorrow?
SOURCE OF IMAGE: Bing search (Trezzini)