PARIS – World No. 9 Kei Nishikori advanced to the second round of the French Open on Tuesday, when Japan’s women crashed out one after another.
In the women’s draw, Naomi Osaka, Miyu Kato and Nao Hibino all failed to make it out of the first round at Roland Garros.
Nishikori came from a set down to defeat big serving Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to a second-round battle with France’s Jeremy Chardy. Nishikori’s best result here came two years ago, when he reached the quarterfinals.
After struggling with his serve in the first set, Nishikori found his range in the second and blew his opponent out early.
Having evened the match at one set apiece, Nishikori trailed 3-0 in the third set before turning things around. He opened his second service game with an ace before Kokkinakis handed over a service break with an unforced error and a double fault.
“It was really hard to establish any rhythm. It got better as the match went on, and in the final set, I felt I was playing well,” Nishikori said. “Although even until the end, he was dangerous.
“The big thing was coming back from 3-0 down in the third set. I was able to find some momentum and ride that.”
Osaka, ranked 55th, lost 6-3, 7-5 to unheralded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck in her earliest Grand Slam exit. Last year, Osaka reached the third round at the Australian, French and U.S. Open, and the second round this year in Melbourne.
In earlier action, 199th-ranked Miyu Kato made a first-round exit from the women’s draw, losing 6-4, 6-0 to American Taylor Townsend, who is ranked 121st in the world.
Hibino fell 6-2, 6-2 to French 28th seed Caroline Garcia. Hibino is ranked 83rd. This was Hibino’s sixth Grand Slam and she has yet to make it out of the first round.