Photo: Susan MullaneYoshihito Nishioka (JPN)
Yoshihito Nishioka turned 18-years old in September 2013 and has played sparingly on the ITF Pro Circuit as he tries to make the transition from the Junior Circuit where he reached a career high of world No.12 in January 2012.
Helped by a title in February at Mexico F3, his first as a professional, he had progressed up the rankings to reach just outside the Top 500 at the start of the month which allowed him to enter Chile F11 as eighth seed.
There was no easy first round match for the Japanese youngster, however, as he faced a stiff contest against local player Nicolas Jarry who took the first set and threatened to cause an upset before Nishioka came through 36 75 63.
That was to prove to be the greatest test of the tournament as Nishioka took the title without dropping a further set beating third seed Hans Podlipnik-Castillo in the semifinals before a 75 62 victory against second seed Andres Molteni of Argentina in the final.
There was less cause for celebration in the doubles event where a first-time partnership with Chilean Guillermo Nunez didn’t make it past the first round as they were defeated by Argentinian’s Hernan Casanova and Mateo Facundo Cressa, 64 62.
From success in Quillota, Nishioka moved on to San Felipe the following week for Chile F12 where he was again seeded.
Back-to-back straight sets victories to begin the campaign was followed by a rematch of the previous weeks opener against Jarry where he was once again pushed all the way but came through 76(3) 75 to move into the semifinals.
Meanwhile in the doubles he once again paired with Nunez and this time they edged a win in the opening round but couldn’t progress beyond the quarterfinal as they fell 64 75 to Rodrigo Banzer and Simon Navarro.
Back in singles action, Ricardo Urzua-Rivera proved to be a tough opponent in the next round as they split the first two sets before Nishioka took the third and set up a meeting with second seed Jorge Anguilar in the final. A 64 62 victory took Nishioka to his first back-to-back titles and propelled him up the rankings to a career high of world No.442 at the start of January.