Japan’s rising son stuns Tsonga | sports | Hindustan Times
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Japan’s rising son stuns Tsonga

sports Updated: Jan 24, 2012 00:44 IST

Kei Nishikori blazed a trail for Asian men's tennis in the modern era on Monday when he became the first Japanese to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 80 years.


Nishikori stunned French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to emulate countrymen Ryosuki Nunoi and Jiro Satoh, who made the last eight in 1932, and now faces Andy Murray for a place in the semi-finals.

"Hopefully I can be like Li Na for the men," the 22-year-old said with a grin in reference to China's Li, who became Asia's first grand slam singles winner last year at the French Open.

"Honestly there's a lot of good players in Asia and I am happy to get to the top from Asia," added the 24th seed.

Nishikori left home at 13 to train at the Bolletierri Academy in Florida and after winning his first title at Delray Beach in 2008 has moved up the rankings to number 25 in the world and was seeded for the first time at Melbourne Park.

He is a celebrity in Japan, unable to walk around the streets freely in Tokyo without being approached by fans.

After beating Tsonga, he hoped it would provide further impetus to tennis in his country.