History-making Kei Nishikori was dumped out of the Shanghai Masters yesterday by American Sam Querrey, as defending champion Andy Murray was handed a walkover into the third round.
The tall American recovered from losing the first set to seal a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Nishikori, who made history on Sunday by becoming the first Japanese player to win the Japan Open.
Top seed Roger Federer, playing his first tournament on the Tour since a quarter-final defeat to Tomas Berdych at the US Open, took on Taiwanese qualifier Lu Yen-hsun in an evening clash. Federer beat Lu 6-3, 7-5.
Also in second-round action, second seed Novak Djokovic cruised through his tournament opener and there were wins for fourth seed Tomas Berdych and 13th seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Nishikori said he had needed treatment during the match on his right ankle, which had been bothering him since last week.
“I tried to play, but he had a good serve,” he said. “I broke him first in the third set, but couldn’t finish the match. It’s disappointing, but I was close to win with this injury. Nothing I can do,” he said.
The 22-year-old Japanese romped into a 4-0 lead and sealed the opener despite a medical timeout late in the set.
However, a missed overhead early in the second set contributed to an early break for Querrey and the Japanese 14th seed lost his rhythm, showing his frustration as his rejuvenated opponent, ranked 22nd, leveled the match.
In the third set two breaks of serve proved costly for Nishikori, who is at a career high of No. 15 in the rankings after his weekend win over Canada’s Milos Raonic, his first on the Tour since 2008.
Nishikori, who last year reached the semi-finals in Shanghai, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray, said his success in front of home fans had given him confidence despite the pressure to succeed.
“I have to handle pressure always, especially when you get a higher ranking and you play with the lower-ranking players,” he said.
“Yeah, it’s going to be there, for sure, the pressure, but, you know, I have to play one match at a time, and hopefully my ranking will go up,” he added.
Djokovic, who has a shot at regaining the world No. 1 ranking if he wins the title and Federer loses before the quarter-finals, dismissed Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-2.
However, US Open champion Andy Murray did not even have to take to the court as Germany’s Florian Mayer withdrew with a rib injury.
“I’ll practice again. I mean, you never know whether it’s a good or a bad thing. I mean, you’re obviously prepared to play the match,” Murray said.
“Yeah, sometimes it happens when you get a walkover. You just need to make sure you do enough practice and stay sharp,” he added.
As the season draws toward to a close there are four places still up for grabs at next month’s season-ending World Tour Finals in London. The top three have all qualified, along with the injured Rafael Nadal.
AP, OSAKA, Japan
The top-seeded Samantha Stosur advanced to the quarter-finals of the Japan Open by beating Virginie Razzano of France 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan defeated Casey Dellacqua of Australia 7-6, 6-3 and to advance to the quarter-finals, where she is scheduled to face the eighth-seeded Laura Robson of Britain.
Stosur, last year’s US Open champion, rallied after having her serve broken three times in the first set at the Utsubo Tennis Center. Razzano had 10 double-faults.
The Australian is scheduled to next face Jamie Hampton in the quarter-finals.
The American defeated wild-card entry Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 7-5, 7-5.
Also, Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi beat Olga Puchkova of Russia 6-3, 6-2 and is scheduled to next take on Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa.
Additional reporting by Staff reporter