Nishikori to face Tomic in Brisbane

Second seed Kei Nishikori maintained his perfect record against Mikhail Kukushkin by sealing a straight-sets victory to move into the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International on Wednesday. The world number eight from Japan had won his three previous encounters with Kukushkin and recovered from an uncertain start to prevail 6-3, 6-4.

KeiNishikoricropped

Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori

Second seed Kei Nishikori maintained his perfect record against Mikhail Kukushkin by sealing a straight-sets victory to move into the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International on Wednesday. The world number eight from Japan had won his three previous encounters with Kukushkin and recovered from an uncertain start to prevail 6-3, 6-4.

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Nishikori was broken in the first game of the match at Pat Rafter Arena, but that proved to be a false dawn for Kukushkin as he was beaten in an hour and 29 minutes. The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Nishikori recovered from 2-0 down in the opener to secure two decisive breaks in the first set and needed just the one in the opening game of the second to stand on the brink of a fourth successive semi-final appearance in Brisbane. 

Nishikori will now face home favourite Bernard Tomic, who saw off 2009 champion Radek Stepanek 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) in a gripping contest. Tomic battled back from 4-1 down to take the first set, then held his nerve to win a second tie-break after being taken to a decider. 

Marin Cilic, seeded three, is also through to the last eight courtesy of a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) triumph over teenager Hyeon Chung. Cilic by no means had all things his own way, but 19-year-old Chung felt the force of the Croat's powerful serve as the world number 18 racked up 18 aces and broke three times to go through. Dominic Thiem will be Cilic's next opponent after he saw off Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2.