MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Kei Nishikori moved on to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday morning with his second straight-sets victory of the tournament, easily accounting for the United States’ Austin Krajicek.
The Japanese world No. 7 got the 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory in just under two hours under the roof at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena.
“It was a great match against Austin, we’ve known each other for a long time so it wasn’t easy to play against him, but I thought I played good today,” said Nishikori.
The only hiccup for the Japanese star came when his unseeded opponent broke his serve at 5-4, when Nishikori had the opportunity to take the second set. The set went to a tiebreak, but Nishikori was able to win it 7-5.
“I should have closed it out when it was 5-4, but he raised his game,” Nishikori said. “Then I got to the tiebreak and my game improved, I started playing better.”
Nishikori beat Krajicek with an aggressive game plan, ending with 40 winners and 13 aces while getting to the net regularly, winning 76 percent of points when he was there.
He gave his coach, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, credit for his current patch of excellent form.
“It’s always great to have support from Michael,” he said. “He is always very tough on the (practice) court and that’s why I have been playing really well.
“He’s a very nice guy outside of the court, but on the court he is very tough.”
Next up Nishikori will play the winner of the match between No. 26 seed Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Daniel Brands, to be contested later on Wednesday.