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Canada’s Gabriel Diallo falls to Kei Nishikori in first round at Roland-Garros | TSN

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Canadian Gabriel Diallo was unable to win his first main draw match at a Grand Slam as he fell to Japan’s Kei Nishikori 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 1-6, 7-5 in the first round at Roland-Garros.

Diallo fell behind two sets early thanks to a combined 36 unforced errors but stormed back by winning 10 of 11 games between the third and fourth sets to force a fifth-and-deciding set after finding his serve in the back half of the match.

The 34-year-old Nishikori was able to rebound in the final set, breaking Diallo twice for the victory, including a break in the final game with Diallo serving for a chance to force a tiebreak. It’s just his third tour-level victory since 2021 after missing most of the past three years due to various injuries.

Nishikori will move on to face the winner of tomorrow’s match between No. 15 Ben Shelton and Hugo Gaston.

The Montreal native jumped out to a quick lead and had a chance to close the first set on serve up 5-3 but was broken by Nishikori to extend the set. The veteran held his own serve and broke the 22-year-old for a second time before holding again to take the first set 7-5. Diallo committed 20 unforced errors in the set. 

The second set was more of the same for Diallo as he was again broken twice by Nishikori, with the crucial break coming while the two were tired at five games apiece. Diallo bounced back and was able to get a break of his own to force a tiebreaker. However, the Canadian could not maintain his momentum, losing the tiebreaker 7-3 to drop the second set 7-6.

Diallo won the first Grand Slam set of his career in the third, 6-3, thanks to a dominant serving game that saw him drill three aces and win 80 per cent of his first serve points. He continued his strong play in the fourth set, winning 57 per cent of his return points, breaking Nishikori twice, for a  6-1 win.

Following the fourth set, Nishikori took a medical timeout and appeared to be labouring with a leg injury.

The 6-foot-8 Diallo drilled 15 aces and won 70 per cent of his first-serve points but committed 62 unforced errors in the loss.

Diallo, ranked No. 166 in the world, entered the main draw for his first Grand Slam appearance with wins over Alexander Ritschard, Marco Trungelliti, and Genaro Olivieri in the qualifying tournament.

Nishikori entered the match ranked 350th in the world to make his 12th appearance at Roland-Garros and first since 2021.

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