Nishikori overcomes Berlocq in straight sets

Japan’s Kei Nishikori has stormed into round three after defeating Carlos Berlocq in straight sets on Wednesday morning.

Both players held their first serves relatively comfortably, but Berlocq began the third game with a disappointing double fault.

Unable to recover from the shaky start, an aggressive Nishikori seized a 40-0 edge and an error off the Argentinian’s racquet allowed the No. 16 seed to claim the first break of the match.

The Japanese took a liking towards cross-court forehands which appeared to place much pressure on Berlocq’s backhand.

The unseeded Argentinian however fought to an immediate break back, levelling the score to 2-2.

The top 20 player was determined to make the most of every opportunity presented to break ahead, luring Berlocq to a vulnerable position at the net in order to open up the baseline for the perfect lob winner.

Berlocq, however, posed a solid service performance, delivering a series of aces and ensured the game was held by launching a speedy 200 km/hr serve that Nishikori was unable to return.

At the critical moment at 5-5, 40-30 in Nishikori’s favour where he had the chance to break ahead 6-5 to serve for the set, Berlocq pulled out a sideline winner to bring the score to deuce.

Going on to claim the advantage, Berlocq displayed some far more aggressive play as he endeavoured to protect his serve, but a mishit during an integral point sent the first set into a tie-break.

Kei Nishikori began the tie-break on an confident note, propelling a hurling ace an achieving an early 3-0 lead.

While a resilient Berlocq levelled the board to 3-3, it did not take long for the world No. 18 to grasp the first set 7-6(7-4).

Cheered on by the encouraging crowd, Berlocq took more risks in moving forward for the winner volleys and managed to break ahead of his opponent 3-1.

Feeling uneasy from being down at the beginning of the second set, Nishikori quite remarkably secured two consecutive breaks was suddenly snatched back the momentum of the first to eventually secure the second 6-4.

Nishikori’s shot placement became evidently the more superior of the two men and Berlocq began to lose some rhythm in his initially strong service games, leading to a far less challenging final set for the Japanese who prevailed in no time 6-1.

Wednesday morning held witness to some devastating injury withdrawals.

America’s Brian Baker had an incredible 7-6 1-1 lead on his No. 20 seeded opponent Sam Querrey however was forced to withdraw due to a painful knee injury where he had to be wheeled from the court.

German Tobias Kamke similarly retired due to an injury to the right shoulder sending Stanislas Wawrinka into round three without having to close out the match.

Originally published at The SportingJournal.


About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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