Nishikori becomes first Japanese to make last eight of Wimbledon

Filed on July 9, 2018
Nishikori becomes first Japanese to make last eight of Wimbledon
Japan's Kei Nishikori returns against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis during their men's singles fourth round match.


Japanese joins Federer, Nadal, Isner and Raonic in quarterfinals

Over the past week none of Roger Federer's opponents needed to play on a court with a retractable roof as Wimbledon has been roasting in 30 degrees Celsius temperatures.

What they would probably have preferred is to play on a Centre Court with a retractable grass surface - one that can open up and swallow them whole and spare them from receiving any further punishment from the most elegant executioner in tennis.

Just too bad that option was not available to Adrian Mannarino on Monday as he was tortured and tormented during a jaw-dropping opening set when he won only one point on his own serve.

Mercifully the set flashed by in 16 breathtaking minutes as Federer whizzed into the quarterfinals with a 6-0 7-5 6-4 win.

Had the Swiss not squandered four break points in the opening game of the second set, which lasted almost as long as the entire opener, Federer would probably have not needed an hour and 45 minutes to get back into the locker room.

Did he feel sorry for Mannarino? "Not really. I'm telling myself why didn't I break the first game of the second," a grinning Federer said as he stood three wins away from lifting the men's trophy for a record ninth time.

"I was also surprised it was that fast, that first set, especially 16 minutes. That was too fast. Shouldn't really happen but thankfully they do for me. I probably won't have another 6-0 set this week, so I'll enjoy this one."

Perhaps blinded by the male fan who sat in the corner decked in gold lame to resemble the pineapple-topped Challenge Cup, the 36-year-old Swiss fluffed his lines despite being 0-40 up on Mannarino's serve in that first game of the second.

That reprieve, followed by further break point let-offs in the Frenchman's next two service games, allowed Mannarino to make more of a match of it.

The first set horror-show and an apparent groin injury did not stop the world number 26 from becoming the first man to earn break points against Federer at the All England Club this year.

Converting any of them, however, was mission impossible as Federer saved all four to take his streak of winning successive service games at Wimbledon to 81, dating back to last year's semifinals.

Federer has also won 32 consecutive sets at the grasscourt major, dating back to his semifinal defeat in 2016.

Experienced American John Isner ended the run of Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the quarters for the first time at the 10th attempt on Monday.

The 33-year-old won 6-4 7-6(8) 7-6(4) to set up a big-serving last eight clash against Canada's Milos Raonic who overcame Isner's compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.

Kei Nishikori overcame an arm injury to reach his first Wimbledon quarterfinal with a gritty 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

The 28-year-old Nishikori is the first Japanese man to reach the last eight stage since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995.

World number one Rafael Nadal reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2011 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic on Monday.

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