Nishikori sets up clash with history-making Millman
Rio de Janeiro: Japanese fourth seed Kei Nishikori reached the Olympic tennis tournament second round Saturday where he will face Australian John Millman who recorded the first ‘double bagel’ win in Olympic history.
Nishikori, a quarter-finalist at the 2012 Olympics, breezed past Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-4 in just 79 minutes.
Fittingly, a Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernardes was in the chair for the first match on centre court and Nishikori rose to the occasion, taking the opening set in just 33 minutes, breaking in the third and seventh games.
Ramos-Vinolas, who made the French Open quarter-finals this year, must have realised it was not to be his day in the second game of the second set.
Nishikori allowed his racquet to fly from his hand but still won the point as he scrambled to retrieve it before unleashing a winner past the bemused Ramos-Vinolas.
The crucial break of the set came in the ninth game before Nishikori served out for victory.
Millman, 27, swept past Ricardas Berankis in just 50 minutes to complete a miserable summer for the Lithuanian player.
At Wimbledon in June, Berankis, 26, was knocked out in the first round by Britain’s world number 772 Marcus Willis, a club professional.
Later Monday, fifth seeded Venus Williams, the 2000 champion in Sydney, starts against Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.
At 36, Williams is the oldest player in the women’s draw in Rio.
India’s Leander Paes is playing in his seventh Olympics, comfortably a record for a tennis player at the Olympics.
The 43-year-old is in men’s doubles with Rohan Bopanna and they kick-off against Lukas Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland.
The evergreen Paes was a singles bronze medallist at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Paes and Matkowski are regular partners on the ATP Tour and reached the French Open quarter-finals at the French Open this year.
Defending champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams as well as world number one Novak Djokovic and 2008 champion Rafael Nadal all start their campaigns on Tuesday.
Djokovic, bidding to become just the third man after Andre Agassi and Nadal to complete the Golden Slam of Olympic gold and the four majors, has arguably the toughest opening encounter.
The Serb faces 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro who beat him in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics in 2012.