Nishikori wins Brisbane International

Nishikori wins Brisbane International

In tennis, Japan's Kei Nishikori has clinched his first title in almost three years by winning the men's singles final at the Brisbane International tournament in Australia.

The world's ninth-ranked player Nishikori beat 16th-placed Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on Sunday.

The event is considered a prelude to the Australian Open-- the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments-- that starts in mid-January.

Second-seeded Nishikori won the first three matches in straight sets before facing 22-year-old Medvedev in the final.

Nishikori had played Medvedev twice before, winning once and losing once.

Their most recent match-up was last October in Tokyo, when Medvedev defeated Nishikori in straight sets in the final.

This time in Brisbane, in the first set Nishikori allowed Medvedev to break his serve after a fierce exchange of shots.

But he maintained his calm, displaying a precise shot that got by Medvedev. Recovering from 0-3, Nishikori took next five games and won the set 6-4.

In the second set, Nishikori displayed brilliant returns and got a break point eight times. But he was unable to break angled serves from 1.97-meter tall Medvedev.

Nishikori was also pressured by Medvedev's shots that landed close to the lines. Nishikori lost the second set 3-6.

In the final third set, Nishikori demonstrated precision returns and sent powerful forehand shots near the lines. He won this set 6-2, earning his 12th career title.

Nishikori later told reporters that he has never won a season's first tour tournament before taking part in the Australian Open.

He said he is glad he was able to make an ideal start for this season. He also said he wants to work hard at the Australian Open, since winning at the Brisbane International tournament is not his goal.