Tennis: Kei Nishikori reaches French Open quarter-finals, ending Japan's 82-year wait

Japan's Kei Nishikori gestures during his match against Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili during the men's fourth round of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on Sunday (May 31). -- PHOTO: AFP
Japan's Kei Nishikori gestures during his match against Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili during the men's fourth round of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on Sunday (May 31). -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 82 years to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Fifth seed Nishikori goes on to face either Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 14th seeded Czech, for a place in the semi-finals.

Jiro Satoh was the last Japanese man to enjoy such a run in Paris when he went on to the semi-finals in 1931 and 1933.

Nishikori hadn't played since Wednesday after scheduled third round opponent Benjamin Becker withdrew with an injury.

The 25-year-old looked the fresher of the two out on a damp, chilly Court Suzanne Lenglen dominating the first set and racing to a 5-1 lead in the second before 74th-ranked Gabashvili briefly rallied with a face-saving break in the eighth game.

The third set followed a similar path of domination with Nishikori again stretching to a 5-1 lead.

Gabashvili saved two match points but the Japanese, who had beaten the Russian in Barcelona in April on his way to a successful defence of his claycourt title, won through.

Nishikori finished with 40 winners, more than three times his opponent's and took his clay record this year to 13-2.