Uchiyama/Salisbury Overcome All-Japanese Pair In Tokyo
Top seeds Marach and Pavic win Beijing opener
Last week, Joe Salisbury had the best tournament of his career, winning the Shenzhen Open with Ben McLachlan. Already back in action, the Brit got off to a good start in Tokyo, partnering home favourite Yasutaka Uchiyama past Yoshihito Nishioka and Kaito Uesugi 6-3, 7-6(5) to reach the second round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018.
“Obviously it was great. Had a great week last week, my first tour win,” Salisbury said of his performance in Shenzhen. “Sometimes it’s tough going into the next week, especially so soon. We only played a few days ago. But very happy to get the win and be moving on to the next one.”
The winners claimed 85 per cent of their first-serve points to just 64 per cent for the all-Japanese team. It was an especially important win for Uchiyama, triumphing in front of his home crowd.
“It’s all the time good to play in Japan. We have all the Japanese fans helping me a lot,” Uchiyama said. “It’s not easy to play against a good friend, but we’re off to a good start.”
A day after upsetting top-seeded Marin Cilic in singles, German Jan-Lennard Struff stepped on the doubles court with McLachlan to oust Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos 7-6(4), 7-5 in one hour and 22 minutes. Struff and McLachlan made the semi-finals at the Australian Open and in Miami this year, also advancing to the last eight at Wimbledon.
At the China Open in Beijing, top seeds and Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic knocked out Marco Cecchinato and Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes. Fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic also advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Runhao Hua and Zhizhen Zhang in 67 minutes.