Nishikori, Raonic Advance In Cincinnati

Japanese will face Tomic or Goffin in third round

Kei Nishikori started his quest to reach back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Russian qualifier Mikhail Youzhny on Wednesday at the Western & Southern Open. The Japanese, who received a first-round bye, saved all six break points and broke the 34 year old four times to advance in 80 minutes.

Nishikori, the fifth seed in Cincinnati, will next face Aussie Bernard Tomic, who came back to upset 11th seed David Goffin 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes. Nishikori leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1 but Tomic took their previous meeting this season 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in Brisbane.

Last month at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Nishikori reached his second Masters 1000 final of the season (l. to Djokovic) and the third of his career (Miami 2015, Madrid 2014). By reaching the third round on Wednesday, he matched his best results in Cincinnati.

Milos Raonic overcame John Isner 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in a titanic second-round clash. Going into the match, Isner led the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-0 and held a 4-1 edge in tie-breaks won, but the Canadian reversed both trends to prevail in 96 minutes. The 2016 Wimbledon finalist improved to 40-10 (20-4 on hard) to bolster his chances to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the second time (2014).

Both men played to their strengths, painting the lines with their powerful serves. Raonic landed 64 per cent of first serves and fired 12 aces while Isner landed 69 per cent of first deliveries and had 20 aces. The lone break point chance of the match came with Isner serving at 30-40 in the eighth game of the opening set. The American swept the next three points to hold.

"He just played the tie-breaks better than I did," Isner said. "I knew the match could very easily have a scoreline like that. Of course you hope to be on the good side of it. I was not."