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Nishikori reaches French Open milestone

Nishikori
Nishikori

PARIS – Kei Nishikori reached another milestone on Sunday, becoming the first Japanese man in more than 80 years to advance to the quarterfinals at the French Open.

The fifth-seeded Nishikori, who has yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament, progressed to the last eight at the clay-court Grand Slam for the first time with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory of Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia on Sunday.

“To (reach) the quarterfinals, that’s the first goal for these two weeks,” said Nishikori, who disappointed with a first-round exit at the French last year but rebounded by making the U.S. Open final. “I knew I could do this because I was doing well during the clay-court season. I hope it’s just the start of my journey, and I hope I can keep going.”

At the U.S. Open, Nishikori became the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final. He’s also the only Japanese man to be ranked in the top 10 of the ATP world rankings.

Now he’s following in the footsteps of Jiro Satoh, who got to the semifinals of the French Open in 1931 and 1933.

Ivanovic back to quarters

Former champion Ana Ivanovic returned to the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time since her triumph at Roland Garros seven years ago after beating ninth-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Ivanovic will face 19th-seeded Elina Svitolina, who overcame strong resistance from local hopeful Alize Cornet to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-2, 7-6 (9) win.

The seventh-seeded Ivanovic, who won the French Open the year after losing in the final, last made the quarterfinals of a major at the Australian Open in 2014.

Play suspended

Roger Federer could be excused if he has a restless night.

With thick gray clouds overhead and light slipping away at the end of a rainy day, Federer got broken by Gael Monfils to even their fourth-round match at a set apiece, right before play was suspended Sunday.

They met on the sideline to chat with the chair umpire, then clasped hands, and Monfils gave Federer a playful pat on the shoulder. Spectators at Court Philippe Chatrier booed and whistled upon hearing there’d be no more tennis.

Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, and Monfils, the flamboyant Frenchman who won their two most recent encounters, will resume today. At least they finished two sets, with Federer taking the first 6-3, and Monfils winning the second 6-4.

Two women’s matches did not begin at all Sunday, including defending champion Maria Sharapova against Lucie Safarova.

In the quarterfinals, Federer or Monfils will face Federer’s Swiss Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, seeded eighth, who defeated 12th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Wawrinka said he’ll be watching the rest of Federer-Monfils “like any tennis fan.”

Along with Federer-Monfils and Sharapova-Safarova, delayed matches featuring Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams will take place today.


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