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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Go upsets Nishikori in all-Japan clash

Go Soeda and Kei Nishikori

ATLANTA: Go Soeda routed third-seeded compatriot Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-1 at the ATP Tour’s Atlanta Open on Friday in the first meeting between the two Japanese stars.

Eighth-seeded Soeda saved all seven break points he faced on serve and went four-for-four on break point chances on his return in the 72-minute quarterfinal contest.

The match marked the first time the pair have squared off against each other as professionals. Soeda turned pro in 2003 and Nishikori turned pro four years later.

World number 19 Nishikori will now head to the London Games and Soeda will join him as soon as the Atlanta hardcourt tournament is over.

This is the first ATP Tour semi-final for Soeda since the opening week of the season, when he made it to the Chennai Open semis and lost there to Janko Tipsarevic. He is currently ranked 54th in the world.

Soeda next plays Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, who beat Aussie Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-4 on Friday.

The 29-year-old Muller won 32 of his first 35 first-serve points and did not face a break point.

Muller is a two-time ATP Tour runner-up and is chasing his first title. He is in a final for the first time in seven years.

In other quarter-final matches, fourth seed Andy Roddick defeated Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4.

The 27th-ranked Roddick hammered 12 aces and won 82 percent of his service points.

He improved to 3-0 against Russell and converted two of four break points in the match.


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