PARIS (AP) — The rain delay suited Kei Nishikori as he recovered to beat Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-6, 6-4 when their third-round match resumed at the French Open on Sunday.
It was the first time in the Open era that two Asian men had met as late as the third round in a Grand Slam tournament, and Chung was bidding to become the first South Korean to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros.
The eighth-seeded Nishikori appeared to be struggling with a wrist injury on Saturday and also had treatment on his back shortly before rain stopped play, with the Japanese player 3-0 down in the third set.
Nishikori had hurled his racket to the clay in disgust moments before the match was interrupted, breaking it.
“I think the rain helps me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn’t ready,” the 27-year-old Nishikori said. “I knew I had to change something to beat him today, so I think I made some adjustments to make little better than yesterday.
“Mentally I was a little more fresh, and physically, too, little more energy on my legs. That helps me a lot.”
Chung, who is ranked 67th, has never beaten a top-10 player in seven attempts. The 21-year-old threatened to do so for the first time as Nishikori made a total of 69 unforced errors.
“Yesterday I think I made too much unforced errors, that’s why he came back serving fourth, and that’s something I tried to avoid today,” Nishikori said. “Make more returns. You know, don’t give him too much free points.”
Nishikori broke early in the fifth set and was serving for the match when Chung broke back, but he sealed the result when his opponent double faulted.
“It was great honor to play with Kei. He’s a great player in the world,” Chung said. “And today was tough match against Kei … I tried my best and maybe I’m waiting for another day.”
Chung was voted the most improved player of 2015 by ATP players.