NEW YORK – Kei Nishikori defeated Alexandre Kudryavtsev in straight sets on Friday to advance to the final round of the U.S. Open men’s qualifying singles.
Nishikori, ranked 149th in the world, earned his second victory by beating his Russian opponent 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).
“It was hard to get a rhythm going. My opponent’s returns were deep and hard to hit back so I was a little nervous,” said Nishikori.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball well and had a lot of chances with my forehand before the tiebreak, but I became a little more aggressive afterwards and was able to reduce my mistakes.”
The 20-year-old Nishikori faces Canada’s Frank Dancevic on Saturday and another victory will earn him a spot into the main draw for the first time since reaching the U.S. Open final 16 in 2008.
Nishikori defeated Chilean Paul Capdeville in the first round on Thursday following two days of suspended play.
In other men’s singles matches, compatriot Tatsuma Ito and Yuichi Sugita each advanced to the final round after defeating their American counterparts. Ito cruised past Chase Buchanan 6-1, 6-2. Sugita won against Jesse Witten 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3.
In women’s qualifying action, Junri Namigata prevailed over American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-4, but Ryoko Fuda lost to Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-3.