Japan’s Kei Nishikori reached the quarterfinals of the men’s singles tennis tournament at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, beating Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka in straight sets.
On another day of punishing heat in the Japanese capital, Nishikori defeated Ivashka 7-6 (7), 6-0 in two hours at Ariake Tennis Park to secure his place in the quarter-finals of the Olympic singles for the third straight match .
Kei Nishikori of Japan plays against Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in the third round of the Olympic men’s singles in Tokyo at Ariake Tennis Park in the capital on July 28, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
Nishikori, who won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, will face Serbia’s Novak Djokovic or Spain’s 16th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the quarters.
In his first encounter with Ivashka, Nishikori was visibly fatigued from the start and struggled to keep up with his opponent’s speed.
But the Japanese picked up steam later in the first set, converted three break points and came from a 5-2 deficit to take the tiebreak.
The second set went in favor of Nishikori. He won long rallies and took advantage of Ivashka’s mistakes in temperatures around 30°C.
In his fifth match, which included doubles, Nishikori committed 27 unforced errors ahead of his opponent’s 44 at the venue, where general spectators are not allowed as part of countermeasures against the novel coronavirus.
Nishikori will also play in the men’s doubles later in the day with partner Ben McLachlan.
Nishikori, in 69th place in the world ranking, is the last Japanese singles player left at these Olympics after Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the women’s tournament by Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Nishikori defeated Rafael Nadal in the bronze medal match. He made a quarter-final exit at the 2012 London Games.
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