Kei Nishikori is confident his Japanese compatriot Naomi Osaka will learn to cope with pressure as she deals with her new elite status in tennis. Nishikori, who is top seed at the Dubai Championships this week ahead of Roger Federer, believes that the painfully shy 21-year-old Osaka ranks ahead of him as a national sporting star after winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens, igniting fresh tennis hysteria across the Pacific. Suddenly everything changes — she’s number one, I’ve (only) been top three before,” said world number six Nishikori.
Roger Federer heads into the Dubai Championships on Monday convinced that it’s only a matter of time until he wins his record-setting 100th career title. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who has long used the emirate as a winter training base, will take to the court for the first time since his Australian Open fourth-round defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 37-year-old Swiss, seeded second behind tournament debutant Kei Nishikori, explained on Sunday that he is perfectly content to let things take their natural course and is not stressing over finally cracking his trophy century.
Belinda Bencic beat Petra Kvitova in three sets to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.