Nishikori backs Osaka to give Serena strong US Open challenge
Kei Nishikori couldn't make it two Japanese players in the US Open finals, but he backed compatriot Naomi Osaka to give Serena Williams a run for her money in the women's championship match.
"I'm sure she's going to have a chance to beat Serena," Nishikori said Friday. "I think Naomi can stay with her."
Osaka, 20, is the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam final, where she'll be taking on 23-time major winner Williams.
Osaka and Nishikori had already made history as the first Japanese duo to reach the women's and men's semi-finals at the same Slam.
But Nishikori, runner-up to Marin Cilic in the 2014 US Open, couldn't take the next step, falling to Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday.
Nishikori, the first man representing an Asian country to make a Grand Slam final, was asked if he had any advice for Osaka.
"I think she's going to be fine," he said after watching Osaka beat 2017 runner-up Madison Keys in straight sets to reach the final.
"She was playing unbelievable tennis," he said. "I'm sure it's different, finals and semis, but I hope she can enjoy it and play a good level."
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