US Open

Nishikori, Raonic set to duel

2014-08-30 22:44
Milos Raonic (AFP)

New York - Young guns Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori will duel for a US Open quarter-final berth in a rematch of their fourth-round tussle at Wimbledon.

Canada's Raonic downed Nishikori at the All England Club en route to becoming the first Canadian man in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam semi-final.

They booked the rematch with third-round victories at Flushing Meadows, Raonic, 23, ending the dream run of the Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3) while Nishikori defeated Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

The 10th-seeded Japanese is back in the US Open round of 16 for the first time since his debut in 2008.

He fired 25 winners past Mayer and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced.

Nishikori, 24, is putting together a career best season, with two ATP titles that helped him become the first Japanese man to crack the top 10 in the world rankings.

Back trouble forced him to retire against Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters, and a toe injury forced him to miss Masters tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati prior to the Open.

But he has yet to drop a set and said his dented confidence is building with every victory.

"Now I'm very confident," he said. "A little bit sore everywhere, but otherwise it's almost 100 percent."

Raonic, the first top-10 opponent faced by Estrella Burgos, was nearly taken to a fourth set when the 34-year-old Dominican served for the third at 5-4.

Raonic wrapped it up in the tiebreaker, aided by two pressure-induced double faults from Estrella Burgos.

"I think I tried to do so much in the third set. That's why I made two double faults in the tiebreak," Estrella Burgos said.

"A player like Milos, if you give him the advantage like two points, he's going to close for sure the tiebreak," he added of the Canadian, who is 23-9 in tiebreakers this year.

Raonic said his tiebreaker success stems from "an understanding that it is a coin toss in a lot of ways".

"It can go both ways, but with my serve and ability to finish points quickly and the kind of pressure that puts on my opponents, I can maybe shift odds in my favor," he added.

"When things aren't necessarily going well throughout the set, I feel like, OK, take care of your serve and give yourself a shot in the breaker."

Read more on:    atp tour  |  us open  |  milos raonic  |  kei nishikori  |  tennis
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