Yoshihito Nishioka won his second career title after beating fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the Korean Open on Sunday.
Nishioka defeated world No 2 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, he was impressive in defence and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher-ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.
The 27-year-old started the brighter and found his rhythm early to win the first set against the Canadian.
The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found momentum from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead.
But Nishioka made a fantastic comeback to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018.
Nishioka also toppled fifth seed Dan Evans earlier in the tournament.
“First and foremost, congrats to Yoshi. I mean you’re playing incredible this year. You’re super annoying to play,” joked Shapovalov
“it was super frustrating for me, I tried to find a way and I think I did everything I could, so congrats, and to your coach as well, you guys deserve it.” added Shapovalov
“I think my returning was great today, I know he has a big serve and a big forehand, but I didn’t need to worry about that if it was too good. I just focused on playing many balls and putting pressure on him, and if I had chances to just go for it. But first of all, just make a lot of balls, and hit a lot to his backhand, and try to move him.” said Nishioka
Yoshihito had a fantastic run on form this year, a run that included wins against Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.
His victory in Seoul lifts the 26-year-old 15 spots to No. 41 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Nishioka’s will next participate in the Japan Open in Tokyo this week.