Japanese tennis was celebrating yesterday after Kei Nishikori progressed to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
Dispatching Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets, Nishikori became the first player from Japan to reach this stage of the competition in 80 years, ABC reported.
The sixth seed went into the match as firm favourite but was dispatched by a tireless Nishikori, who walked out winner in a hard-fought 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Delighted with his performance, the star said: "Hopefully I can be like Li Na for the men," the news provider quoted.
Last year the Chinese tennis player Li Na became the first singles grand slam winner when she won the French open.
"Honestly there's a lot of good players in Asia and I am happy to get to the top from Asia," the 22-year-old added.
A major celebrity in his home country, Nishikori moved to Florida at the age of 13 to train as a tennis player. This year was the first time he has been seeded at the Melbourne tournament.
The last player from Japan to reach a grand slam quarter-final was Shuzo Matsuoka, who made it to the final eight of Wimbledon in 1995.
Written by Susan Ballion
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