Kei Nishikori on Friday edged closer to a first ATP Tour title in two years at the New York Open after coming from behind to defeat Moldova’s Radu Albot and claim a semi-final berth.
The Japanese fifth seed, who is on his way back from a five-month injury layoff, recovered from dropping the opening set to defeat Albot 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in Long Island.
Nishikori dropped out of the top 20 last year for the first time since 2014 following a wrist injury.
He launched his comeback on the ATP’s Challenger circuit before returning for his first full ATP Tour event in New York.
The 28-year-old — who won the tournament four years in a row before it moved to New York from Memphis — was next due to play top seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the last four.
Anderson progressed after downing Frances Tiafoe of the US 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
In the other side of the draw, second seed Sam Querrey delighted the home fans after bundling out big-serving Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic in straight sets, winning 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4).
Querrey, who has climbed to a career-high 12th in the world rankings, edged Karlovic thanks to a flawless service game, losing just six points on his serve.
“I couldn’t have served much better,” Querrey said. “I don’t even know if we went to deuce and I had good rhythm on my serve, and that’s what freed me up a little bit in the tiebreaks.”
Querrey was due to face France’s Adrian Mannarino in the semi-finals yesterday.
Mannarino advanced to the last four after defeating Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Meanwhile, the ATP said it had found no evidence that Ryan Harrison racially abused Donald Young during the duo’s ill-tempered clash on Monday.
African-American Young, 28, had accused Harrison of making a remark relating to his ethnicity when tempers boiled over in their first-round match.
Harrison had emphatically denied the claim.
The two Americans exchanged words in the first set and needed to be separated by the chair umpire during a changeover in play.
The ATP said in a statement it had found no evidence of racism after carrying out an investigation into Young’s claim.
“The ATP conducted a full investigation into this week’s match at the New York Open between Ryan Harrison and Donald Young,” the statement said. “All available evidence was reviewed including match footage and interviews with match officials and other tournament personnel who were in close proximity of the players. Unfortunately, the audio recording on the match footage did not pick up verbal exchanges between the players. At this time no evidence has been found to support the allegation that Ryan Harrison used a racial slur during the match.”
Young had addressed Harrison on Twitter directly after the match.
“I’m shocked and disappointed, Ryan Harrison, to hear you tell me how you really feel about me as a black tennis player in the middle of our NY match,” he wrote.
Harrison, who won the match 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), was adamant that Young’s claim was unfounded.
“The accusations made by Donald Young tonight following our match are absolutely untrue,” Harrison wrote. “I’m extremely disappointed that someone would say this in reaction to a lost tennis match.”
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