Wimbledon | Nishikori overcomes injury to make quarters
Kei Nishikori overcame an arm injury to reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final with a gritty 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(10) 6-1 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.
The Japanese No.1 needed lengthy treatment and a medical timeout on a right arm injury in the first set and then had to save set points in the third.
I just kept trying. It wasn't working well for me in the first set. He was playing very good -- very good serves. I mean, first couple sets I couldn't really do anything with his serve. Kei Nishikori
“Took little bit [of time] to get better. My elbow was bothering me a little bit. From the second [set], got better. I just kept trying. It wasn’t working well for me in the first set. He was playing very good — very good serves. I mean, first couple sets I couldn’t really do anything with his serve.
“Struggling to return his serve. But I think getting the second set tiebreak gave me a lot of confidence. Yeah, second and third [sets] I tried to stay positive, even though I was, you know, struggling my return game, and he was playing good today. So I just tried to stay calm and fight every game.”
The 28-year-old Nishikori is the first Japanese man to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995.
His reward is a last-eight match-up against either three-time champion Novak Djokovic or unseeded Karen Khachanov of Russia.
Gulbis, ranked 130 and who came through qualifying, had shocked fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the third round. It was his third successive five-set match.
Not only was he wilting but a nasty fall, which required a medical timeout on his left knee, proved too much for him to become just the sixth qualifier to reach the last eight at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Milos Raonic has made the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
The No. 13 seed defeated unseeded American ranked 103, Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 as he dominated with his serve never allowing McDonald a sniff of a breakpoint. However, he did get broken in the third set tie-break for the first time in the tournament.
Raonic lost to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals last year and in 2016, lost to Andy Murray.
Raonic will next face the ninth seed John Isner who defeated the rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas6-4 7-6(8) 7-6(4). It will be Canadian’s first match against a seeded player at the tournament.
“I missed a few opportunities in the third set. Then I just sort of let up a little bit, and he played well in that tiebreaker. Other than that, it was a pretty clean match. I didn’t face any breakpoints I don’t believe. I did a lot of things well,” a satisfied Raonic commented later.