Friday, October 14, 2011

Kei Nishikori and Feliciano Lopez are the real Shanghai surprises

A funny thing: Yesterday, I was just thinking about Brad Gilbert working with Kei Nishikori and saying to myself, "Man, BG must really see something in him that'll enable him to compete with the big boys." I've always thought of Nishikori as a Lleyton Hewitt-type, and I just didn't know if that would translate to a ton of success anymore.

I guess that's why Brad is the coach and I'm blogging!

Nishikori is in the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters with some good wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alexandr Dolgopolov along the way. I know Nishikori has been plagued by injuries in his young career; here's hoping that's on pause so he can get even more good momentum going.

Another guy that always intrigues me is Feliciano Lopez: How does he hang around in the top 40 like he does with that backhand? I guess he knows how to work around it, plus having a good forehand, big serve and really nice hands at the net helps!

Neither one of these two were on my list of contenders when the tournament started. And even though their games and success have always baffled me, I'd say I'm a fan of both of them and perhaps they can keep on defying the odds.

(Photo: AP)