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Naomi Osaka exits French Open; Kei Nishikori reaches fourth round

AP, AFP-JIJI

U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys overcame some late-match shakiness against Naomi Osaka on Friday to reach the fourth round at the French Open for the second time in three years.

The 13th-seeded American built a big lead then barely avoided getting pushed to a third set before beating the 21st-seed 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) in a matchup of powerful baseliners at Roland Garros.

Keys, the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up, compiled a 30-8 edge in winners and started quickly, going up by a set and a break at 3-1 in the second. But she began making more and more mistakes, allowing Osaka to take 10 consecutive points and three games in a row during one stretch.

Still, Keys served for the victory at 5-4, and held a match point at 40-30, when she pushed a backhand long and wound up getting broken. In the tiebreaker, Osaka went ahead 4-1, and held set points at 6-5 and 7-6. Keys held steady, though, and was able to convert her second match point when Osaka double-faulted.

Later Friday, Kei Nishikori made short work of home hope Gilles Simon as he cruised into the French Open fourth round for the fifth time.

The 28-year-old, seeded 19th in his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon last year after struggling with injury, saw off Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Nishikori could next face a clash with two-time semifinalist and seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who plays Italian Matteo Berrettini later in the third round.