Tokyo - Top-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan had to retire injured and
second seed Tomas Berdych was beaten in second round matches at the Japan Open
taking place in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Nishikori was up against Portugal's Joao Sousa and in the
first set was leading 4-0 at one stage, but then was forced to retire due to a
back injury when leading 4-3.
The result means that the unseeded Sousa gets an easy
passage through to the quarter-finals.
In another second round match, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg
caused an upset when defeating Berdych of the Czech Republic 7-6(7), 6-1 in a
match lasting one hour and 38 minutes.
Berdych, who was coming into Tokyo having won the Shenzhen
Open last week, looked good early and in the sixth game had three break points
on Muller's serve but could not convert any.
The opening set went to a tie-break and Berdych had another
set point when leading 7-6 but Muller managed to survive and claimed a
mini-break to win the breaker 9-7 and the opening set.
Midway through the second set an ailing Berdych called for
the trainer but could not do anything against the aggressive serve-and-volley
tactics of Muller, who claimed the set and match 6-1.
"I had some chances to break but he saved those break
points and began to play much better," said Berdych after his loss.
"Then at the start of the second set, my body was giving me signs that
I’ve been playing too much tennis after the last couple of week."
Croatian fourth seed Marin Cilic had to work mighty hard to
get past Spain's Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in two hours and 25 minutes.
Cilic came into the match very much the favourite against
Verdasco having not lost to the Spaniard left-hander since 2011 on a hard
In the first set, Verdasco's wide serve to that add court
was working well and gave him the upper hand after he had claimed his
opponent's serve early in the third game. Things went with serve after the
early break for Verdasco to win the set 6-4.
Cilic looked in trouble early in the second set when he
dropped serve in the opening game but he broke straight back to make it 1-1.
There were three more service breaks, two for Cilic and one for Verdasco, for
the Croat to even things up by claiming the set 7-5.
In the decider, there were three breaks of serve with the
decisive one coming in the 12th game to hand Cilic the match and set 7-5.