Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kecmanovic rides his luck into Indian Wells quarters

Kecmanovic rides his luck into Indian Wells quarters
Kecmanovic rides his luck into Indian Wells quarters

Miomir Kecmanovic was up 6-4 when Yoshihito Nishioka retired with an injury from their fourth round match making him the last Serb standing at the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

"I did not see that coming, not at all," said Kecmanovic as he found himself the only one of five Serbs in the men's main draw to reach the last eight.

"It will be funny, that somebody other than Novak is still in," Kecmanovic said.

Kecmanovic wasn't even supposed to be in the field, after falling short in pre-tournament qualifying. But he gained entry to the second round when an elbow injury forced fifth seed Kevin Anderson out.

"Obviously it's tough to see your opponent retire like that, but I'm still happy that I managed to get to the quarters," said Kecmanovic. "I'm happy that I used this opportunity that I got."

Kecmanovic, who will next face Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, has been working to create more opportunities to achieve his goal of finishing the year in the top 100.

He spent time training in Tenerife with Dominic Thiem, Jan-Lennard Struff and Ernests Gulbis prior to the season, a stint he said opened his eyes to the quality of work needed to contend on the ATP tour.

"A lot more intense," he said of the experience, compared to his usual off-season training.

"I didn't know that's what they were going for. That definitely opened my eyes to see how much more I have to work to get where I want to be."

Against Nishioka, Kecmanovic said, he knew early on that something was troubling his opponent, who asked to see a trainer after just three games.

"Then when I broke him the fist time, that's when I really saw, like, OK, something is wrong with him."

Kecmanovic was in his post-match press conference when he learned he'd been granted a wildcard into the Miami Masters.

With that new piece of good news, Kecmanovic thought he might see if his luck would stretch beyond the tennis court, and pick up a lottery ticket.

"I'm going to get a ticket," he said, "because this is just nice."