Originally written on Tennis Panorama  |  Last updated 11/17/14

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12: Kei Nishikori of Japan returns a serve in his match against Frederic Niemeyer of Canada during qualification for the Pacific Life Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2008 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori

ATLANTA (July 19, 2012) – For the first time in Open Era history (since 1968), two Japanese players will meet in the quarterfinals as Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda have advanced after two rounds of play at the BB&T Atlanta Open taking place at Atlantic Station.

 

The 22-year-old Nishikori meets his countryman Soeda, age 27, on Friday in the second match on not before 4 p.m. on Stadium Court.

 

Only one other time in tour history since 1968 have two Japanese players met in the Round of 16, one round lower than It took place in 1973 when Jun Kuki defeated Takeshi is Osaka. Nine times since 1968 have two Japanese players met in the Round of 32 at a tour-level event.

 

Nishikori is currently ranked No. 19 in the world and Soeda is No. 54. It will be the first meeting between the two players.

 

Nishikori, who was born in Shimane, Japan, currently resides in Bradenton, Fla., and trains under the guidance of Nick Bollettieri at IMG Academy. He is the tournament’s No.  4 seed and received a first-round bye. In the second round he beat qualifier Ricardas Berankins of Lithuania in three sets, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4, on Wednesday in a match delayed by rain, which didn’t finish till after 1 a.m.

 

Soeda, born and still living in Kanagawa, Japan, is the No. 8 seed and he beat Xavier Malisse in the first round in three sets before taking down Igor Kunitsyn of Russia, 6-1, 7-5.

By Steve Pratt

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