Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Kei Nishikori raises level to defeat Bautista Agut

AFP, BARCELONA, Spain

Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber returns to David Ferrer of Spain during their Barcelona Open quarter-final at the Real Club de Tenis in Spain on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Reigning champion Kei Nishikori moved into the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open with 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday.

The Japanese is the heavy favorite to retain his title after Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat to Fabio Fognini on Thursday and impressively romped through the deciding set after being forced all the way for the first time this week.

Nishikori eased through the first set after breaking in the first game, but Bautista Agut responded by breaking for 4-2 in the second and held off three break points to serve out for the set.

However, the world No. 5 raised his game in the third as the depth and power of his groundstrokes forced Bautista Agut onto the back foot as Nishikori cruised through the final five games to take his place in the last four, where he faces Martin Klizan.

“In the second set he started to play well and I had to raise my level a little bit,” top-seeded Nishikori said. “I concentrated really well in the third set, got ahead early and came through really strong in the end.”

“I feel sorry for Rafa, but Fognini is a very tough player and there are plenty other good players in the draw like Klizan or David Ferrer,” he added.

Slovakia’s Martin Klizan ended the hopes of veteran home favorite Tommy Robredo in straight sets 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Third seed Ferrer is also into the last four after he overcame some stiff resistance from Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

The Spaniard was to play compatriot Pablo Andujar in yesterday’s semi-finals after he upset a flat Fognini 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour on court.

Nastase Tiriac Trophy

In the Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Friday, Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain beat Gilles Simon of France 6-7 (7/5), 6-4, 6-2; Gael Monfils of France beat Simone Bolelli of Italy, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4); Czech Jiri Vesely downed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 6-4, 6-4; and Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez beat Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).

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