Rising Japanese tennis superstar Kei Nishikori advanced to the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International, a tune-up to the first grandslam of the year, the Australian Open. He won in straight sets over Spain’s Tommy Robredo, 6-3 6-3.
Nishikori, ranked 19th in the world and seeded 5th in Brisbane, needed just 85 minutes to dispatch of the 114th ranked Robredo, a former Top 10 superstar, after breaking him in the second game of the first set. Nishikori dominated the rest of the game, also breaking Robredo’s serve in the second set to secure a berth in the final eight. Feeling confident of his chances, he said afterwards “I had a good offensive and defensive balance. My serve was good too.” This was a career milestone for him as he won his 101st ATP tour match with this victory.
He will next face Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, seeded fourth in the tournament and last year’s runner-up to U.S. Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray. Dolgopolov was leading his opponent, veteran player Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-1 when the former Brisbane runner-up was forced to retire due to an illness. The other quarterfinal match on Friday will feature third-seeded and World No 16 Gilles Simon against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis who upset sixth-seeded German Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2. Four more second round matches are to be played on Thursday, including defending champion Murray who will face Aussie qualifier John Millman, second seed Milos Raonic (who lost to Nishikori in the Tokyo Open final) and wild card Australian legend Leyton Hewitt.[ via The Province ]