• Kyodo


World No. 5 Kei Nishikori reached the quarterfinals of the Mexico Open on Wednesday with a comfortable straight-sets win over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.

The top-seeded Nishikori, seeking his second title of the season after triumphing in Memphis two weeks ago, took just under an hour to whip Lu 6-1, 6-3 at Pegaso Stadium.

Nishikori won 83 percent of his first serve in the first set, punishing a number of errors by 61st-ranked Lu.

The 25-year-old capitalized on five of his six break chances and hit 16 winners to advance to the quarterfinals.

“The wind was not as strong as it was in the first round and I was able to play my game,” said Nishikori. “It has been a while since my serve was that good. When you serve well it makes (the rest of) your game easier.”

Nishikori will next face Ukrainian fifth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-2, 6-3.

Federer tops Verdasco

Dubai United Arab Emirates AP

Defending champion Roger Federer stormed back from 4-1 down in the first set to beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday and claim a spot in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships.

Trailing 4-1, Federer delighted the packed stadium by winning 20 consecutive points to take the first set of the one hour match.

“I didn’t even know that happened until someone told me afterwards,” Federer said of winning five games in a row without losing a point. “I look back, it’s quite a lot of points in a row and it might be the only time it’s ever happened for me.

“Fernando is a shotmaker and he takes it out of your racket sometimes.”

In all, Federer won six of his nine service games at love. He lost two of his other three service games.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic also only needed one hour to move into the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Andrey Golubev.

Djokovic never offered Golubev a break point opportunity and only gave up 11 points in eight service games.

“Having one match under my belt before today’s encounter helped to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker,” Djokovic said.

Tomas Berdych became the eighth active player on the ATP Tour to post 500 career wins when he beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-0.

“It feels great,” Berdych said. “I need to make sure I keep my body fresh so I can make another 500. I just am going to try to keep adding to it and play as long as I can.”

Third-seeded Andy Murray also moved into the quarterfinals with a swift 6-0, 6-2 win over Joao Sousa that only took 57 minutes.

Nadal downs Arguello

Buenos Aires AFP-JIJI

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal overcame some uncharacteristic nerves to surge into the quarter-finals of the Argentina Open on Wednesday with an efficient 6-4, 6-0 victory over Argentine qualifier Facundo Arguello.

Nadal, ranked fourth in the world, needed just 64 minutes to win his opening match in the clay court tournament, booking a clash with Federico Delbonis.

The Spaniard’s 714th career win gave him sole possession of 10th on the all-time list in the Open Era, ahead of Boris Becker.

Nadal admitted he felt a few nerves opening his Buenos Aires campaign after a semi-final loss to Italian Fabio Fognini in Rio last week.

“It’s never easy to open when you have lost a match like the one I lost in Rio de Janeiro,” he said. “I started a little nervous, and Arguello played very well in the first set.

“In the second I felt more comfortable and I was able to attack more.”

Radwanska cruises

Doha AP

Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska brushed aside Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday to set up a quarterfinal with Venus Williams in the Qatar Open.

Radwanska, who had lost both their previous meetings, including the Indian Wells final in March last year, dropped just 11 points in her seven service games. The Polish player broke her opponent’s serve five times in a match that lasted just 49 minutes.

“For sure I wouldn’t tell it was going to be that quick,” Radwanska said. “I think I really played great tennis today. I was really aggressive and focused from the beginning and that worked until the end.”

Radwanska, who lost to Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open last month, will play her again on Thursday.

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