Australian Open: Japan's No. 1 Nishikori grinds down Ferrer to reach quarters

Kei Nishikori of Japan casts a shadow as he hits a return to David Ferrer of Spain during their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Kei Nishikori of Japan casts a shadow as he hits a return to David Ferrer of Spain during their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (Reuters, AFP) - Kei Nishikori matched his career-best performance at Melbourne Park by grinding down David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.

Spaniard Ferrer's modus operandi has been to drag opponents into endless rallies until they succumb via fatigue or a loss of focus, but Nishikori showed himself up for the scrap and won most of the longer exchanges.

Nishikori blew two match points but closed out the third when Ferrer netted a forehand to seal the win in two hours and six minutes. Japan's No. 1 will meet defending champion Stan Wawrinka for a place in the semi-finals.

It will be 25-year-old Nishikori’s second quarter-final in Melbourne and his third overall under coach and former French Open champion Michael Chang. Nishikori has a losing 1-2 record against Wawrinka.

“I am always prepared to play five sets against David because we always play long matches,” Nishikori said. “I am really surprised that I have finished it in straight sets."

“I have been playing really well. I had three good matches before today and I was hitting through the ball well. I’m really happy to win today.”