WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND – World No. 7 Kei Nishikori reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on Saturday after beating American Steve Johnson for his 400th win on the men’s tour.
Eighth-seeded Nishikori was error-prone at first against the world No. 71, but gained momentum and claimed a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory on No. 3 Court. He booked a spot in the last 16 for the fourth time.
“Both my service and return games were good. It was a great win,” Nishikori said. “I’ve been able to concentrate on every match here so I’m satisfied.”
“I was able to stay calm and played well despite (Johnson) breaking my serve first. My performance got so much better halfway into the match.”
With the win, the Shimane Prefecture native equaled Ai Sugiyama’s record of four appearances in the last 16 at Wimbledon by a Japanese player
Sugiyama reached the women’s last 16 in 1996, 2003, 2004 and 2006.
He will face either Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany or Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in a bid to advance to the quarters at the grass-court major for the second straight year. Nishikori made it to the last eight for the first time last year, but lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Johnson grabbed an early break in the second game after Nishikori struggled with the accuracy of his serves. But Nishikori came from three games down after holding serve in a love game and secured his first lead by converting a break point in the seventh game.
The second and third sets went Nishikori’s way as the Japanese improved his return game and wrapped up the match in 1 hour, 50 minutes. In the final set, he jumped out to a 3-0 lead with two straight aces in the third game. Leading 5-2, Nishikori broke Johnson’s serve for the sixth time to end the match.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer and two-time winner Rafael Nadal both won in straight sets Saturday to move closer to a semifinal showdown.
“For me, I’m very happy how it’s going so far,” said Federer, a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (4) winner over No. 27 Lucas Pouille. “I hope it’s going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me, not just a mediocre performance.”
Nadal, defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Tennys Sandgren beat No. 12 Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (14-12), 6-3 at tiny Court 14, with its 318 seating capacity. Fognini unleashed a tirade in Italian at one moment, saying he wanted a bomb to explode at the All England Club.
Serena Williams, hampered for much of this season by injuries or illness, took a step forward against 18th-seeded Julia Goerges, a powerful hitter in her own right, hitting serves at up to 120 mph (193 kph), put in a tournament-best 71 percent of her first serves, never faced so much as one break point and won 6-3, 6-4.
She later teamed with Andy Murray for a 6-4, 6-1 win against Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarach in mixed doubles.
“Andy and I both love the competition. I know we both want to do well,” Williams said. “We’re not here just for show.”
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5