French Open Round 3
NISHIKORI MAKING STRIDES
by ATP Staff | 01.06.2013
World No. 15 Kei Nishikori will face Nadal in the quarter-finals after recording a landmark victory. Nishikori became the first Japanese man since 1938 to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros when he defeated France’s Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1.
"He's a big talented player," said Nadal. "I know how hard it is to come back after an injury. He had an important injury in the past, and he's back and he's at his highest ranking. He's playing great, having very good results. He won a very tough match against Paire. Always I play with big respect against Kei. He's a fantastic player. He can play very aggressive."
Nishikori, who is already the highest-ranked Japanese player in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings, will look to reach his second Grand Slam quarter-final, having also reached the last eight at the 2012 Australian Open (l. to Murray). Against Nadal, Nishikori will look to overturn a 0-4 deficit in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
"I'm happy to create another [piece of] history and happy to break another record," said Nishikori. "I hear at almost every tournament, if I do well, I'm making another [piece of] history or they say in 30 or 40 years [it's the first time this has happened]. But for me, it's almost normal to be here. I'm happy to be in the last 16 for the first time, so hopefully I can do well."
Playing Paire for the second time, Nishikori hit 27 winners and benefitted from 64 unforced errors from his French opponent. The 23 year old broke serve in the 10th game of the third set to take the lead and raced through the fourth set to claim victory in two hours and 41 minutes.
"Kei played very good," said Paire. "Today I didn't feel good on court. I didn't serve very well. For him it's good, because on second serve he can be aggressive every time. I didn't play good, and for him it was easy."
Kei Nishikori in action during his Men's Singles match against Benoit Paire of France on day seven of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 1, 2013 in Paris, France.