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Thursday, 4th October 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Murray makes quarter finals of Japan Open

Scottish tennis champion Andy Murray will take to the court tomorrow (October 5th) for the quarter finals of the Japan Open.

The US open-winner will be fighting to retain his crown at the Ariake Colosseum after securing the title in 2011.

The 25-year-old knocked out Slovakia's Lukas Lacko to progress to the final stages of the competition dubbed the 'Wimbledon of Tokyo'.

He faces a tough battle against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday, although the top seed has performed better on the ATP rankings than the career-high of nine for Wawrinka.

It will be an interesting match with both right-handed players weighing in at around 80 kilograms, although Murray has the edge when it comes to height, faring three inches taller than the Swiss player.

Still, the singles competition is not the only concern for Murray as he and brother Jamie come up against Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the quarter finals of the doubles event.

Thirty-nine-year-old Paes took the Ratuken Japan Open title in 2000 alongside partner Mahesh Bhupathi, so he will no doubt be hungry to relive the former glory.

Japanese spectators will be keeping an eye on home-grown talent when Kei Nishikori enters the court for his quarter final match against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych.

Nishikori, whose highest ATP ranking was recorded in March at 16, began playing the sport at the tender age of five.

His piano-teaching mother and engineer father obviously spotted his ability, however, moving him from Shimane in Japan at age 14 to the US, where he trained at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Florida.

The 22-year-old star didn't speak a word of English at the time but that didn't stop him from taking the juniors title at Roland Garros in 2006.

With prize money of more than $1.28 million up for grabs, it will be interesting to see who takes the title on Sunday. 

Posted by Graham McPherson

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