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Japanese young gun impresses at Aust Open
By Roger Vaughan
18:43 AEST Wed Jan 16 2013

A day after veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm turned back the tennis clock, it was Japanese young gun Kei Nishikori's time to impress at the Australian Open.

The tournament's 16th seed reached the third round with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-1 win over Argentine Carlos Berlocq.

The 22-year-old is young enough to be the son of 42-year-old Date-Krumm, who on Tuesday became the oldest women's winner at the Open since it became professional in 1968.

"Oh, my God, it was amazing - you see a score 6-2 6-0 against an almost top-10 player (world No.12 Nadia Petrova) and, yeah, I saw some points and she was playing great," Nishikori said.

"Hopefully she wins ... tomorrow and she's making (more) history.

"It's good for Japan, for sure."

Nishikori is also turning heads - he made history at the Australian Open last year when he was the first Japanese player in the modern era to reach a men's quarter-final.

He was also the first Japanese player to win his home country's Open in its 41-year history and reached a career-high ranking of 19.

Nishikori made a wobbly start to this month when a left knee injury forced him out of the Kooyong Classic, but he was able to play a practice match before the Open.

There was a big contingent of Japanese fans at show court three on Wednesday morning to watch Nishikori and he is enjoying the attention.

Asked if this felt like his home grand slam tournament, Nishikori said "for sure".

"It's the Asia grand slam, and like you see today, I had a lot of support ... and that makes me play better.

"Yeah, I love it."

Nishikori's next opponent will be Russian Evgeny Donskoy, who upset compatriot and 23rd seed Mikhail Youzhny 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 3-6 6-3.


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