Melbourne - Kei Nishikori shocked former
finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets to become the first Japanese
man into the Australian Open quarter-finals in 80 years on Monday.
24th seed dug deep to knock out sixth seed Tsonga, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6,
6-3 in 3hr 30min in sweltering conditions on Hisense Arena.
Nishikori's second win over Tsonga after beating him in Shanghai last
year and sets him up with a quarter-final against British fourth seed
Andy Murray on Wednesday.
It is the first time a Japanese man has
reached the last eight at the Australian Open since 1932, when there
were two in the quarter-finals.
It was Nishikori's best result at a grand slam, surpassing his fourth round appearance at the 2008 US Open.
also became only the second Japanese man to reach a grand slam
quarter-final in the open era since Shuzo Matsuoka at Wimbledon in 1995.
was just playing one point at a time and it was not easy conditions
today, Jo-Wilfried was playing well and I was just trying my best,"
"Hopefully it's big news in Japan. A lot of people
have messaged me since my last win, so now it's a quarter-final and I'm
Nishikori broke Tsonga's serve six times and cashed in on Tsonga's 70 unforced errors, 40 of them on his big forehand.
only ace in the match brought up three match points in the final game
and he clinched victory with a running volley at the net.
seeded here for the first time at a grand slam, is the highest ranked
Japanese man in ATP World Tour rankings history.
Tsonga said Nishikori proved a difficult opponent in the heat.
you have a guy in front of you who returns everything, even when you
serve at 215 (kilometres per hour, 134 miles an hour), it puts lot of
pressure on you," he said.
"It's tough to play against him because he runs a lot and everything's coming back."