- POSTED: 26 Jun 2014 20:53
- UPDATED: 26 Jun 2014 23:45
Kei Nishikori admitted he had made a perfect start to his Wimbledon campaign as the Japanese 10th seed moved into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of American qualifier Denis Kudla on Thursday.
LONDON: Kei Nishikori admitted he had made a perfect start to his Wimbledon campaign as the Japanese 10th seed moved into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of American qualifier Denis Kudla on Thursday.
Nishikori has never gone past the third round at the All England Club in five attempts, but the world number 12 looks a good bet to end that frustrating run this year.
He was far too strong for Kudla, hitting 40 winners to just 14 from the world number 136, and hasn't dropped a set in his opening two matches.
The 24-year-old will Italy's Simone Bolelli for a place in the last 16.
"It's been almost perfect first and second rounds for me," Nishikori said.
"This year after the claycourt season I gained more confidence. My tennis is changing, more consistent, and everything is going well.
"Even on grass, my serve is getting better. Also I can be more aggressive from the groundstrokes now. I try to come in more on grass especially. I feel really comfortable."
Nishikori had expected to face a tough test from German 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last 32, but instead he has a winnable tie against Bolelli, the world number 132 who only qualified for the tournament as a lucky loser, defeating Japan's Tatsuma Ito in the first round before shocking Kohlschreiber.
Nishikori, whose best run at a Grand Slam came in 2012 when he reached the Australian Open quarter-finals, has lost in the Wimbledon third round for the last two years.
But his pre-Wimbledon grasscourt practice sessions with coach Michael Chang appear to be paying dividends already.
Following that intense training period with former French Open champion Chang, Nishikori reached the Halle semi-finals on grass.
He was never threatened by Ukraine-born Kudla, a 21-year-old who looked out of his depth as the Japanese star cruised to victory in 88 minutes on Court 18.
Asked if he feels ready to make a long run at Wimbledon, Nishikori's upbeat response spoke volumes.
"Hopefully I can go win the next one and make a big jump here," he said.
"It was almost a perfect game for me. I was able to break his serve early in each set and that meant I could relax. I was able to attack his groundstrokes. Also I returned was well today.
"He didn't have a big serve, so I was able to put some pressure on his service game. Everything worked well today."
Men's second round:
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 14-12
Tommy Robredo (ESP) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Milos Raonic (CAN) bt Jack Sock (USA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Lukasz Kubot (POL) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-1
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8
Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Gael Monfils (FRA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-7 (3/7), 6-4
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) bt Frank Dancevic (CAN) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
Rafael Nadal (ESP) bt Lukas Rosol (CZE) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-4
Women's second round:
Serena Williams (USA) bt Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 6-1, 6-1
Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) bt Lourdes Dominguez (ESP) 6-2, 6-1
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Carla Suarez (ESP) 7-6 (14/12), 5-7, 6-2
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) bt Zheng Jie (CHN) 6-4, 6-0
Sabine Lisicki (GER) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-3, 7-5
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2