Nishikori To Play Kukushkin In Wimbledon Fourth Round; Japanese Star Records 400th Match Win
Japanese star now challenges Kukushkin
Kei Nishikori recorded the 400th match win of his career on Saturday at The Championships to move to within one victory of reaching the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year.
The eighth-seeded Japanese star, who hit 23 winners, swept past American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 50 minutes on No. 3 Court. He will next face Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.
Johnson took a 3-0 lead in the first set, but Nishikori recovered to win five straight games. One set point chance went by with a backhand error at 5-4, but Nishikori closed out in the next game.
At 1-1 in the second set, Johnson hit a double fault to hand Nishikori the advantage and three groundstroke errors from the American saw Nishikori break once more in the ninth game. From 4-3 in the second set, Nishikori won five straight games. The 29-year-old now has a 400-186 match record.
Kukushkin equalled his best Grand Slam championship run (2012 Australian Open) mid-afternoon with a 6-3, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 third-round win over No. 33 seed Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in three hours and 18 minutes. Play was suspended for more than one hour at 2-2 in the fourth set, when a spectator was taken ill.
Kukushkin, who broke a three-match losing streak against Struff, saved five break points at 4-4 in the fourth set, and later clinched the encounter with a crosscourt backhand return that Struff, on approach, hit into the net. Struff hit 26 aces and lost 13 of his first-service points, but came out second best.