Nishikori re­cov­ers to reach Wim­ble­don third round

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

LONDON—Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori came from be­hind to down France’s Julien Ben­neteau on Thurs­day to book his place in the Wim­ble­don third round.

Nishikori, the world num­ber six, won 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Cen­tre Court in two hours and 36 min­utes.

The 2014 US Open fi­nal­ist looked briefly trou­bled when he lost the first set but turned it around.

“I started play­ing more ag­gres­sive and more solid,” the 26-year-old said.

“It wasn’t an easy match. He started well so it was a great match for me.”

Ja­pan’s great­est-ever men’s tennis player faces Russia’s An­drey Kuznetsov in the third round.

“He’s a great young player. I think he likes grass. He hits very flat and also has a good serve,” Nishikori said.

Ben­neteau has plunged to 547 in the rank­ings after miss­ing eight months of the tour last year due to ab­duc­tor surgery, but got into Wim­ble­don on a pro­tected rank­ing.

Nishikori pulled out of Wim­ble­don last year due to a leg in­jury and it re­mains the only Grand Slam where the Ja­panese star has failed to reach at least the quar­ter-fi­nals.

He is still strug­gling with a rib in­jury that forced him to with­draw from the Wim­ble­don warm-up event in Halle.

Mean­while, Roger Fed­erer pre­dictably out­classed Mar­cus Wil­lis to reach round three at Wim­ble­don, but the Bri­tish un­der­dog was nev­er­the­less able to en­joy his un­ex­pected day in the spot­light.

Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing on Cen­tre Court rep­re­sented one of the great­est mis-matches in grand-slam his­tory, as 17-time grand-slam cham­pion Fed­erer - seek­ing his eighth crown at the All Eng­land Club - faced a player ranked 772nd in the ATP rank­ings.

And although Fed­erer tri­umphed with ease, com­plet­ing a 6-0 6-3 6-4 win in an hour and 24 min­utes, there were plenty of high­lights for Wil­lis and a par­ti­san crowd to savour, the Bri­tish num­ber 23 ex­hibit­ing flashes of bril­liance against his il­lus­tri­ous ri­val.

Wil­lis had come through six qual­i­fy­ing matches be­fore shock­ing Ri­car­das Ber­ankis in the first round on Mon­day and ap­peared in­tent on en­joy­ing his dream meet­ing with Fed­erer from the out­set.While the home favourite was un­able to win a game in the open­ing set, he did raise cheers with a host of im­pres­sive strokes the ar­guable high­light a back­hand lob in the third game that rounded off a fine rally.

Hav­ing ini­tially been re­stricted to cel­e­brat­ing in­di­vid­ual points, the flam­boy­ant Wil­lis proved in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive as the match wore on, thanks largely to some im­pres­sive serv­ing.

Fed­erer had to be con­tent with a soli­tary break in set two and was forced to re­cover from 30-40 when trail­ing 3-2 in the third, ei­ther side of con­sec­u­tive love holds from his op­po­nent.

How­ever, the third seed soon re­asserted his con­trol as the stun­ning run of Wil­lis, who will earn £50,000 for his ef­forts at Wim­ble­don, came to an end amid warm ap­plause.—AFP

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