Kei Nishikori didn’t care he’d made history at the French Open. The first Japanese man in 75 years to reach the last 16 was nonplussed because he expected to get this far on Saturday.
"Sorry, I'm not good at history," he said, playing down the significance of his result. "I'm seeded 13 here, so I have to kind of go through these couple (of) rounds."
In beating No 24-seeded Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-1, Nishikori matched Fumiteru Nakano, who lost in the fourth round in Paris in 1938.
Nishikori said he had never heard of Nakano.
Paire said later his coach, Lionel Zimbler, was merely putting his hands in the air to offer encouragement. Zimbler moved both hands forward in a kind of pushing motion.
Now, he faces Nadal
Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal held off a brave but sporadic challenge from Italian Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 to book his place in the fourth round on Saturday. Third seed Nadal suffered the occasional wobble but, for the first time this year, did not drop a set as he set up a meeting with Nishikori on his 27th birthday on Monday.
The Spaniard, who struggled in his first two rounds, was bothered by Fognini's clever shots early on but once he got the measure of the 27th seed the contest was effectively over. Nadal, who has 11 grand-slam titles to his name, sealed the win after two hours 45 minutes when Fognini sent a backhand long.
Tipsarevic vs the fansSerbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic launched a foul-mouthed tirade at fans on Saturday who he claimed were sabotaging his Roland Garros campaign. Tipsarevic lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the third round in a tense confrontation on Court Seven. The 28-year-old faced down two spectators who he said talked and shouted out his opponent's name every time he tossed the ball to serve. "Are you f****** stupid?" screamed Tipsarevic before chair umpire Jake Garner came onto the court to intervene. Both fans were eventually ejected from the stadium after Tipsarevic had made repeated requests early in the second set to have them dealt with. "There were two guys in the corner constantly taunting and laughing, and you could really see they didn't come to watch any tennis but just to pose," said Tipsarevic.