Japanese ace Kei Nishikori defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in straight sets on Monday to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, the final major of the season.
On a good day all round for Japan, Naomi Osaka reached the last eight of the women’s draw after outlasting Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in three sets at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
It is only the second time that Japan will have players in the quarterfinals of the men’s and women’s singles competitions. Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date both reached the last eight of the men’s and women’s draws, respectively, in 1995.
Nishikori, the 21st seed, surged past Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in 2 hours 16 minutes but admitted the punishing heat had taken its toll.
«I was able to play aggressively during the key moments in the match,» said Nishikori, who reached the U.S. Open final in 2014.
«It was a hard match in this heat and my opponent also made mistakes that he doesn’t normally make. If I can keep playing like this one match at a time I will have a good chance of progressing further.»
Nishikori will play Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarterfinals.
Osaka, the 20th seed, beat fast-rising Sabalenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in just over two hours to make the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. She will face Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine in the last eight.
«Making the quarterfinals was my goal so I am delighted that I was able to win,» said Osaka. «I’ve got more experience now and so I feel like I know what I have to do.»
All — Kyodo News+