LONDON – Kei Nishikori and Misaki Doi both crashed out of Wimbledon in the fourth round on Monday.
Taking to No. 2 court following Doi’s straight-sets defeat to Australian Open champion and women’s fourth seed Angelique Kerber, men’s fifth seed Nishikori was sluggish and retired in the second set, trailing 6-1, 5-1 against ninth-seeded Croat Marin Cilic.
Nishikori, who withdrew from his second-round match here last year with a calf injury, has been battling an oblique muscle injury. After an impressive third-round victory, Nishikori had little to offer against Cilic.
Lacking his intense return game, Nishikori watched as seven of Cilic’s first eight serves went for aces. With no zip on his own serve, Nishikori didn’t win his second service point until he was trailing 5-0.
Nishikori gritted his teeth ahead of the second set and broke back to even the set after dropping his first service game. But Cilic reeled off three more games before Nishikori called for a trainer. Although coaches Dante Bottini and Michael Chang appeared to be signaling for him to retire, Nishikori returned to the court for one more game before calling it quits.
Cilic, who ended a two-match losing streak to Nishikori since defeating him in straight sets to win the 2014 U.S. Open final, reeled off 17 aces and hit 28 winners to Nishikori’s five.
Doi, looking to become the first Japanese woman to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Ai Sugiyama in 2004, saw her game undone by errors in a 6-3, 6-1 defeat.
Kerber, this year’s Australian Open champion, overcame an early challenge from 25-year-old fellow lefty Doi before cruising to a victory and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Doi brought up the match’s first break point, but Kerber held serve to even the set 1-1. Kerber broke in the third game and Doi was pressing to break back but a costly mistake ruined that chance. With Kerber racing along the baseline, Doi aimed for an easy forehand into her opponent’s tracks but hit it long.
While Doi, ranked 49th in the world, showed her promise in the first set, the second held far less drama, with Doi unable to hold serve until she fended off two match points in the sixth game.
Doi’s 25th unforced error of the match brought up Kerber’s third match point. The 28-year-old German had Doi on the run and placed a perfect forehand winner into space to clinch it.