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Nishikori To Face Raonic In Fourth Round

New York, U.S.A.

Nishikori© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori is into the US Open fourth round for the first time since 2008.

It will be a battle between the ATP World Tour’s young guns in the US Open fourth round as Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori are set to face off on Monday at Flushing Meadows.

Nishikori and Raonic also met in the fourth round at Wimbledon, with Raonic prevailing in four sets. It was his first win in three meetings with Nishikori.

Nishikori advanced to the US Open round of 16 for the first time since 2008 on Saturday in New York as he dismissed Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. The 10th-seeded Japanese player hit 25 winners to 19 unforced errors and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced for victory in one hour and 52 minutes.

Looking ahead to the Raonic clash, Nishikori said, "Hopefully I can get more returns in, because in the last match, he was hitting so many aces and hitting good serves. I couldn't do anything in my return games. For sure it's going to be a different game here. Still, it's a fast court here. It's going to be tough to get his serve. But I have been playing well. I'm going to try to focus on my service games and try to play another good match."

The 24-year-old Nishikori was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in the 2008 fourth round on his main draw debut. He went on to achieve his best Grand Slam showing to date at the 2012 Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Murray).

The right-hander’s preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year was hampered as he was forced to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati with a toe injury, but he is through to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows without dropping a set.

Raonic brought the curtain down on Victor Estrella Burgos’ dream run at Flushing Meadows with a 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(3) victory in two hours and 43 minutes. 

"It was difficult," said Raonic. "He's playing well. He's playing with a lot of inspiration. It was a lot of fun, the atmosphere, out there. I'm glad that I was able to play well in the important moments. It's good to put myself in this position in the fourth round to go further in this tournament and give myself an opportunity to play better. I believe I can play better.

"I've got to clean up a few things [against Nishikori]. I've got to put out a certain level if I want to have opportunities. And then hopefully when those opportunities do arise, I can make the most of them."

Estrella Burgos was contesting the third round at a major for the first time at the age of 34. The right-hander became the first man from the Dominican Republic to win a Grand Slam match when he defeated Igor Sijsling in the first round. Playing a Top 10 opponent for the first time, Estrella Burgos had the chance to extend Raonic to four sets when he served for the third at 5-4, but could not close it out. 

"[It's been] really, amazing," said Estrella Burgos. "I lost today, but it was my best match. I played a very good level. The three sets were very close. I was serving for the set in the third set. I couldn't close the set. But I'm not too sad, because I had a very good week."

The 23-year-old Raonic is through to the fourth round for the third year in a row after improving to a 15-1 tie-break record for the summer. The Canadian, who clinched the 2014 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge title, has a 37-12 match record on the season.

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