25
Mar
11

Kei Nishikori advances to take on Rafa in round two.

Kei Nishikori will face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open after beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5), 6-2 on Thursday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami. Nishikori withstood 11 aces from France’s recent Davis Cup hero and converted both the break points he created to seal victory in one hour and 35 minutes. The 21 year old, who took part in the football Hope Match for Japan on Wednesday evening, improved to a 9-5 match record on the season, highlighted by reaching the semi-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Tipsarevic). “He’s No. 1 right now, and it’s going to be my challenge match,” said Nishikori about playing Nadal. “I’m really excited to play. Always I’m excited to play like Rafa and top players. I will do my best. I have to do something different in my game, a little bit, of course. But I guess more aggressive than usual.”

Bulgarian qualifier Grigor Dimitrov, another upcoming talent on the ATP World Tour, did not fare so well in his first-round match as he was beaten by Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes. The No. 36-ranked Stakhovsky broke serve four times from nine opportunities as he recorded his 10th win of the season and set a second-round meeting with No. 32 seed Juan Monaco.  Two Spaniards came through three-set tussles to book their place in the second round. Left-hander Feliciano Lopez fired 19 aces as he fought past 20-year-old Lithuanian Richard Berankis 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in two hours and 26 minutes, while Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo needed two hours and 40 minutes to get by France’s Adrian Mannarino 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-2.

 

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