JAPANESE fifth seed Kei Nishikori reached the Roland Garros fourth round yesterday when scheduled last-32 opponent Benjamin Becker withdrew with a shoulder injury.
“Benjamin Becker withdraws with right shoulder injury, Nishikori advances to R16. Wishing Benjamin a speedy recovery,” tweeted the official Roland Garros website.
Nishikori will face either Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic or Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Very sorry to hear about Benjamin being injured. I hope he recovers fast,” tweeted Nishikori, who also made the fourth round in 2013.
Becker (33) needed two gruelling five-setters to get to the third round, seeing off Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium and Spanish 32nd seed Fernando Verdasco.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal breezed into the third round with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
He will face either Austria’s Jurgen Melzer or Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia for a place in the last 16.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova survived big scares at the French Open yesterday, both needing to come back from a set down to reach the third round.
Williams, 19 times a Grand Slam winner, survived an almighty fright before finally seeing off the challenge of world number 105 Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany.
The 33-year-old top-seeded American dropped the first set and faced break points against her unheralded 21-year-old opponent in the second, but she rallied just in time to go through 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
She will next face Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who eased past Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
The Belarusian, who has beaten Williams in the past, is back in business after losing much of last year to a bout of depression and injuries.
On Court One Svetlana Kuznetsova outlasted Francesca Schiavone