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Kei Nishikori spent 15 hours on court in his five matches at Roland Garros, which ended in a loss to Rafael Nadal.

Nishikori: 'I'm Always Stuck In Slam Quarter-finals'

World No. 7 credits Nadal's game

Kei Nishikori was full of praise for Rafael Nadal on Tuesday, but admitted long matches en route to the Roland Garros quarter-finals had taken their toll.

“For sure I played too much hours on the court,” admitted the Japanese star, after his 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 loss to Nadal. “Today, Rafa, he didn't let me play how I wanted to play, and especially if I'm not fresh, it's not easy to stay with him.

“On clay courts it's very tough playing Rafa. He hits very heavy, and he was serving well. He made me play every point. Even to get one game – it feels very long, you know, to get one game. Credit to him, [he is] playing great tennis."

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The 29-year-old was left frustrated that he could not perform better, following back-to-back five-set victories against No. 31 seed Laslo Djere and Benoit Paire in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

“I wish I could finish in three sets,” said Nishikori. “Maybe, [I] lost many tie-breaks this week. Yesterday, I had match point [in the] fourth set, and I lost to play a long match and also against Djere, too.

“I think I've got to keep trying to work, to finish in straight sets, but that means I'm not maybe good enough tennis-wise and also mentally. So I’ll just keep working. I think that's going to be the next step, because I'm always stuck in the quarter-finals in Grand Slams, and I think [the] next goal is to be in semi-finals or a final.

“I know it's not going to be easy, because I've got to beat someone from the Top 4 and I think they are still dominating. But I will just try to keep working.”

Nishikori, who has fallen in eight Grand Slam championship quarter-finals, has recorded his best results at the US Open, where he reached the 2014 final (d. Cilic), and the semi-finals in 2016 (l. to Wawrinka) and 2018 (l. to Djokovic).

With a 23-10 match record in 2019, Nishikori remains in strong contention to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for a fifth time. View ATP Race To London Standings

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