Tennis: Nishikori battles past Dellien to set up Madrid showdown with Wawrinka

Kei Nishikori in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during their second round match at the Caja Magica complex in Madrid, Spain, on May 8, 2019.
Kei Nishikori in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during their second round match at the Caja Magica complex in Madrid, Spain, on May 8, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AFP) - Kei Nishikori will face Stan Wawrinka in the third round of the Madrid Open after battling past Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien on Wednesday (May 8).

Nishikori needed just over two hours to win 7-5, 7-5 after Dellien saved seven set points during an impressive fightback from 5-1 down in the opening set.

The Japanese will go up against Wawrinka on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals. The winner could play Rafael Nadal.

Wawrinka beat Argentina's Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4, with a break in each set proving enough for the three-time grand slam champion.

Nishikori has lost his last two meetings with Wawrinka, including a three-set defeat in Rotterdam in February, when his Swiss opponent went on to reach his first final since undergoing knee surgery in 2017.

The pair have reached 12 grand slam semi-finals between them.

Nishikori's compatriot and world number one Naomi Osaka is through to the quarter-finals of the women's tournament for the first time after she eased past Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-3.

 
 
 

Osaka pulled out of the semi-finals in Stuttgart last month with an abdominal injury but has said she is no longer feeling discomfort during matches.

The two-time major champion will face either Switzerland's Belinda Bencic and Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova in the last eight.

A potential semi-final foe for Osaka is world number three Simona Halep, who annihilated Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-0, 6-0 in 44 minutes.

Halep is chasing her third Madrid title after winning the tournament in 2016 and 2017.