Montreal, Aug 15 (IANS) Japan’s Kei Nishikori recorded his first ever victory over Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal in eight attempts, rolling to a 6-2, 6-4 win in the quarter-finals of the Canada Open here.
The diminutive Nishikori, the No. 4 seed, possessed more firepower from the baseline on Friday night than the 14-time Major champion, dictating the rallies with potent blasts off both the forehand and backhand sides, Efe reported on Saturday.
After dominating the first set, Nishikori took a 4-1 lead with two service breaks in the second set before the seventh seeded Nadal got one of them back and started to get his teeth into the contest.
But Nishikori maintained his high level of play and struck a forehand winner on match point to advance to the semi-finals of this hard court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, a key tune-up for the US Open, which gets underway on August 31.
Nishikori set up a semi-final clash with British No.2 seed Andy Murray, who defeated France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 in the last match of a rain-interrupted Friday.
With the loss, the ninth-ranked Spaniard’s record against fellow top 10 players in 2015 now stands at 2-7.
Saturday’s first semi-final match will pit Serbian world No.1 Novak Djokovic against France’s Jeremy Chardy, both of whom saved multiple match points en route to winning their quarter-final matches on Friday over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis and American John Isner, respectively.