Paris – Kei Nishikori fell short of a quarterfinal berth Sunday at the French Open, going down 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 against German sixth seed Alexander Zverev in the fourth round.
After playing two five-set marathons at Roland Garros en route to the fourth-round clash, world No. 49 Nishikori never found his footing against his fellow former U.S. Open finalist.
He won his only break of the match at 3-1 in the first set before pulling level at 3-3. But that was as close as it would get for the Japanese former world No. 4, who succumbed to the big-serving Zverev in 1 hour, 54 minutes.
“My opponent was too good. His defensive play was so great, it made it very hard to win points,” said Nishikori, who was vying to record his 100th singles victory at a Grand Slam.
The 31-year-old, who missed most of last season following elbow surgery, has lost all three of his meetings with Zverev this year.
“No matter how hard I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to make a breakthrough,” he said.
Zverev moves on to a quarterfinal matchup with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who beat Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 earlier in the day.
“I hope I continue playing the same way I did this match. Maybe even better,” said Zverev. “Now we’re in the quarterfinals. There’s only eight of us left, and the opponents are not getting easier.”
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