Tokyo - US Open finalist Kei Nishikori overcame a sluggish start to advance
to the Japan Open quarter-finals on Thursday, while Milos Raonic also
stayed on course to make it third time lucky at the ATP 500 event in
Fourth seeded Nishikori beat American Donald Young 6-4
7-6(4) in 78 minutes but not before he was made to toil at the Ariake
Colloseum in front of his home fans.
Much to their relief, the
2012 winner saved one set point at 5-6 before gaining a mini-break at
5-4 in the second set tie-break to stay on course for a fourth ATP title
of a career-best season.
"I've known my opponent since we were playing in juniors," Nishikori was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
"We each know what the other's got, so it's a little hard to play him, but I competed without losing my concentration.
"I made sure to play a solid game in the second set, too."
needs to beat Jeremy Chardy to reach the semi-finals in Tokyo and add
to his total in the tight race to reach the season-ending ATP Finals in
London next month.
Frenchman Chardy upset seventh seed Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4 in the final match of the day.
Raonic, a finalist in Tokyo for the last two years, fired 11 aces past Austrian Jurgen Melzer for a 6-4 6-3 victory.