BARCELONA, SPAIN – Japanese ace Kei Nishikori moved into the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open with a straight-sets win over Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev on Thursday.
Fourth-seeded Nishikori, who defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautistaagut in the second round in his first match since March, capitalized on a number of errors by Golubev to take the first set 6-0. Despite a tougher battle in the next, he prevailed 6-4 to wrap up victory in 76 minutes.
“Today my serve saved me at crucial moments in the match,” said Nishikori. “I got myself in some tight spots in the second set but was able to focus and regain my rhythm.”
“I also got advice from my coach (Michael Chang) and am playing with confidence on clay as well.”
In the last eight, Nishikori will play the winner of a later match between Spain’s Tommy Robredo and Croat Marin Cilic.
Nishikori suffered a groin injury during the Sony Open in March that forced him to miss Japan’s Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal fixture earlier this month.