Kei stutters into quarter-finals

February 16,2019

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands: Japan’s Kei Nishikori carved out a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis on Thursday to power into the Rotterdam Open quarter-finals.

Asia’s top player, the world number seven, needed an hour and a quarter to advance as he booked a third victory against former French Open semi-finalist Gulbis, who was a lucky loser at the Ahoy Arena.

Nishikori will on Friday meet Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 7-6 (7/1), 6-1, for a place in the semi-finals.

Nishikori, who won his 12th ATP title in Brisbane earlier this year, earned his 10th victory of the season against a single loss — when he retired in the Australian Open last eight against Novak Djokovic.

Earlier, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won a lengthy opening set and then accelerated past Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor for a quarter-final place.

The Frenchman’s 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 victory was a match of two parts, with the labourious first set taking 53 minutes while the second lasted just 23.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion in Rotterdam, will keep up his bid for a second straight trophy after winning Montpellier at the weekend as he continues his comeback from a seven-month absence last season due to knee surgery and recovery.

Tsonga next faces fifth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev who defeated Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco for the second time in three meetings, posting a 6-2, 7-5 win. Medvedev, a Rotterdam quarter-finalist on his 2018 debut, has carried the momentum he gained from his fourth career title last weekend in Sofia.


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