• Kyodo


Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka both advanced to the third round at the French Open on Wednesday.

Nishikori, ranked sixth in the world and seeded fifth at Roland Garros, rolled past Russian world No. 40 Andrey Kusnetsov 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

The 18-year-old Osaka, ranked 101st in the world, knocked off Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to equal her feat at the Australian Open, where she advanced to the third round in her first career Grand Slam.

Nishikori succeeded on each of his first two break opportunities in the first set and fended off a pair of break points to even the second set 2-2. Kuznetsov double faulted in his ensuing service game, the second on break point as Nishikori seized control.

With Nishikori serving for the second set at 5-2, Kuznetsov dug in, forced three more break points and converted the third to keep the set alive. But it proved to be only a reprieve as Nishikori broke back to win the set.

The third set began evenly balanced but at 2-2, Nishikori held his serve in a love game, lost only one point in breaking to go up 4-2 and dropped one more in his service to make it 5-2 before serving out the set two games later.

In the third round, Nishikori will take on 52nd-ranked Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Nishikori has beaten the 32-year-old Verdasco once in their three matches, having won last year at Indian Wells.

Osaka will face Romanian sixth seed Simona Halep for the first time in her career.

Japan’s Taro Daniel was also in action on Wednesday against third-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.


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