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Yoshihito Nishioka overcomes injury to advance at Eddie Herr

Yoshihito Nishioka, who we have featured on the blog before- here- is not going to let an injury stop him from moving on at Eddie Herr.

Yoshihito Nishioka

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He knows how to win.

And quickness is his great equalizer.

Nishioka can also tolerate pain, which was what got him through his match Wednesday at the Eddie Herr International Tennis Championships at the IMG Academy.

A 12th seed in the 18-year-old and Under Division, the 16-year-old fought off a nagging left shoulder injury to earn a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 over Fedor Baev from Norway.

“There was a lot of pain. It hurt a lot and affected what I can do, but I wasn't going to quit. I couldn't play last year, and I am not going to sit out again,” Nishioka said. “I can't hit the ball as hard as I want to and it hurts on my backhand. I had to change my style and just tried to make him miss.”

Most people would figure Nishioka, who stands only about 5-foot-7 at best, is already at a disadvantage because he doesn't have a big power game and can't tower over opponents. But he makes up for that with cunning and a knack for covering the court with his speed and athleticism.

“I think I injured my shoulder from playing too much, but I don't want to stop. I love the game and I am playing really well now. I want to win this tournament,” Nishioka said. “I don't think the injury will get worse. I am not worried so I am going to keep playing. It's very important to me to win this tournament.

“I cannot overpower people so I have to use my head. I usually play people bigger than me anyway, and I have to outsmart them. I am happy with how I played today. I did good today despite how my shoulder felt.”

Nishioka had to stop playing tennis for about six months last year because of a back injury and missed the Eddie Herr tournament. He started playing again in January and, after working his way back into shape, is playing some of his best tennis.

“He is a tough kid. He is playing a lot more because he has been winning and did well in some futures events,” IMG tennis instructor Glen Weiner said. “He is very strong mentally, which enables him to beat taller opponents. Yoshi doesn't give up a lot of points because of lack of concentration. His speed helps him take advantage of a lot of situations. You break his serve and don't concentrate and on your next game you will lose your serve.”

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