Wimbledon 2015

Injured Nishikori pulls out

Kei Nishikori wearing strapping on his calf, stumbles as he stretches for a shot during his match at the 2015 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
Kei Nishikori wearing strapping on his calf, stumbles as he stretches for a shot during his match at the 2015 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.PHOTO: REUTERS

Calf injury still bothering him; Djokovic plays Tomic in 3rd rd, Dimitrov also through

LONDON • Injury-plagued Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori limped out of Wimbledon yesterday, as men's top seed Novak Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win over world No. 92 Jarkko Nieminen.

Fifth-seeded Nishikori had been down to face Colombian world No. 60 Santiago Giraldo on Centre Court for a place in the last 32.

But the 25-year-old admitted that the left-calf injury that he suffered last month in Halle - which had forced him to retire in the semi-finals - was still a factor during his five-set win over Simone Bolelli in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.

"It got worse in the fifth set of that match, it hurt so much," said the Japanese. "It hurt to walk and run today so I decided not to play."

As Giraldo goes on to face German teenager Alexander Zverev or American wildcard Denis Kudla for a third-round spot, Nishikori was left contemplating another injury setback in his career.

Last year's US Open runner-up did not play from April 2009 to April 2010 after undergoing surgery on his right elbow. Last year, he was forced to quit his Madrid Masters final against Rafael Nadal with a back injury which was still affecting him by the time the French Open came around.

"It's not a big injury, just a little tear," said Nishikori yesterday. "It's very disappointing. I thought I was playing well on grass. I'm unfortunate to lose this chance."

Djokovic will take on Australian 27th seed Bernard Tomic for a place in the last 16, as the Serb continues his bid to win a third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam crown.

Djokovic recorded his sixth career win in seven meetings against the 33-year-old Finn and the two men exchanged a warm embrace at the net once their 92-minute Centre Court duel ended.

"It was his last Wimbledon so I congratulated him on a great career," said Djokovic. "He's been around for many years and he's one of the nicest guys off the court and a great fighter on it. It was a pleasure to play him."

The Serb overcame a break early in the first set but from then on, it was plain sailing for the champion who finished with an impressive 36 winners.

"I was solid throughout. He broke early on but I regrouped and played some good tennis," said Djokovic.

Men's 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov saw off American Steve Johnson 7-6 (10-8), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

The Bulgarian, 24, had 17 aces and 47 winners, compared to 13 aces and 29 winners for the 25- year-old American.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Injured Nishikori pulls out'. Print Edition | Subscribe