Wimbledon 2012: Nishikori ends Japan's wait for last 32 berth

Updated: 28 June 2012 18:18 IST

Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the Wimbledon third round for 17 years as the 19th seed crushed France's Florent Serra 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday.

Wimbledon 2012: Nishikori ends Japan's wait for last 32 berth
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Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the Wimbledon third round for 17 years as the 19th seed crushed France's Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the Wimbledon third round for 17 years as the 19th seed crushed France's Florent Serra 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday.

Nishikori had already made history earlier this year when he became the first Japanese man to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals in 80 years.

Now the 22-year-old has a small slice of Wimbledon history as well after emulating Shuzo Matsuoka's run to the last 32 back in 1995. Matsuoka went on to reach the quarter-finals where he lost to Pete Sampras.

Japanese tennis could receive another welcome boost later on Thursday if Go Soeda can shock former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

That would put two Japanese men in the Wimbledon third round for the first time since 1937 and set up an all-Japan last 32 clash between Nishikori and Soeda.

Nishikori appears keen to make up for lost time after his steady rise up the rankings was halted when he was hit by a stomach injury in Barcelona in April that kept him out of action until Wimbledon.

He suffered ankle and knee injuries while securing his first ever Wimbledon win in the first round against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan earlier this week.

But Nishikori didn't seemed troubled by either issue as he romped to his second successive straight sets win.

Nishikori was broken in the second game of the first set, but he hit back in emphatic fashion with a break of his own moments later.

That was the first of five games in a row for Nishikori, who dropped his serve when trying to close out the set but promptly broke again to take a one-set lead.

Nishikori was dominating from the baseline and, with world number 137 Serra struggling to cope with his power and movement, it was no surprise to see the Japanese star take the second set as well after securing the decisive break at 6-5.

To the delight of the large contingent of Japanese fans watching from the stands, Nishikori landed the knock-out blow in the third set, breaking twice to seal the win. 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday.

Nishikori had already made history earlier this year when he became the first Japanese man to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals in 80 years.

Now the 22-year-old has a small slice of Wimbledon history as well after emulating Shuzo Matsuoka's run to the last 32 back in 1995. Matsuoka went on to reach the quarter-finals where he lost to Pete Sampras.

Japanese tennis could receive another welcome boost later on Thursday if Go Soeda can shock former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

That would put two Japanese men in the Wimbledon third round for the first time since 1937 and set up an all-Japan last 32 clash between Nishikori and Soeda.

Nishikori appears keen to make up for lost time after his steady rise up the rankings was halted when he was hit by a stomach injury in Barcelona in April that kept him out of action until Wimbledon.

He suffered ankle and knee injuries while securing his first ever Wimbledon win in the first round against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan earlier this week.

But Nishikori didn't seemed troubled by either issue as he romped to his second successive straight sets win.

Nishikori was broken in the second game of the first set, but he hit back in emphatic fashion with a break of his own moments later.

That was the first of five games in a row for Nishikori, who dropped his serve when trying to close out the set but promptly broke again to take a one-set lead.

Nishikori was dominating from the baseline and, with world number 137 Serra struggling to cope with his power and movement, it was no surprise to see the Japanese star take the second set as well after securing the decisive break at 6-5.

To the delight of the large contingent of Japanese fans watching from the stands, Nishikori landed the knock-out blow in the third set, breaking twice to seal the win.

Topics : Tennis Kei Nishikori Juan Martin del Potro Wimbledon 2012 Go Soeda Feliciano Lopez Florent Serra
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