Kei Nishikori Records 100th Grand Slam Win; Aslan Karatsev Falls | ATP Tour

Kei Nishikori Records 100th Grand Slam Win; Aslan Karatsev Falls | ATP Tour


Kei Nishikori became only the 12th active player to record 100 Grand Slam match wins on Wednesday as he moved past Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round at Wimbledon.

The former World No. 4 hit 30 winners and broke Popyrin three times for victory in just under two hours. He reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2019 to equal his best result at Wimbledon, and will next face Jordan Thompson or 12th seeded-Norwegian Casper Ruud.

“I started really well. I think it the first set I was a little bit shaky, but in the second and third sets, I played really good solid points,” Nishikori said. “I served well and I think the return was key. I broke one game in each set, so I am really happy with how I played today.”

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Nishikori has had runs to the quarter-finals at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. Borna Coric) and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. Lloyd Harris) this year. He is 15-12 on the season. Popyrini won his maiden ATP Tour title at the Singapore Tennis Open (d. Bublik) in February. The World No. 67 is now 16-13 on the season.

Elsewhere, Jeremy Chardy snapped a fourth-match losing streak and claimed his first grass-court victory of the season as he overcame 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 6-3.

The Frenchman hit 13 aces and won 75 per cent (38/51) of his first-service points to advance to the second round in two hours and 27 minutes. The 34-year-old is now 16-15 on the season and next faces Ilya Ivashka.

“To be back at Wimbledon is very special,” Chardy said. “I love to play on grass. I was lucky to spend one week at home before the tournament, so I was really happy to enjoy that with the family. I am really happy with my match today, I think I played a really solid match from the beginning to the end.”

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Chardy, No. 61 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at the Antalya Open (l. to Bublik) in January. He produced a strong display to defeat 20th seeded-Russian Karatsev, who was making his Wimbledon debut. In a tight opening set, Karatsev saved the only break point in the 12th game to force a tie-break, which Chardy sealed when Karatsev netted a backhand.

History repeated itself in the second set with Chardy clinching another tie-break, after both fended off break points. He then fired 10 winners in the third set to advance.

Karatsev has enjoyed a best-ever season, recording 23 tour-levels wins. The 27-year-old claimed the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in March (d. Harris) after a run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in February (l. to Djokovic). The Russian lost in qualifying at SW19 in 2014 and 2015.



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