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French Open 2021: Alexander Zverev sets up fourth-round clash with Kei Nishikori

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Kei Nishikori booked a place in the French Open last-16 when his Swiss opponent Henri Laaksonen retired with an injury while Alexander Zverev dispatched Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-2 7-5 6-2 to reach the fourth round on Friday.

World number six Alexander Zverev. (Reuters Photo)

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nishikori followed up two consecutive five-setters with a one-set victory at French Open
  • Alexander Zverev picks up momentum as he reaches fourth round in Paris
  • Henri Laaksonen retired with an injury after dropping the opening set 7-5

German sixth seed Alexander Zverev eased into the French Open last 16 for the fourth successive year on Friday and set up a fourth-round clash against former world No 4 Kei Nishikori.

Nishikori booked a place in the French Open last-16 when his Swiss opponent Henri Laaksonen retired with an injury after dropping the opening set 7-5 while Zverev dispatched Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-2 7-5 6-2 to reach the fourth round on Friday.

Zverev won the first four games en route to bagging the opening set without much bother under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.

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The German took command of the third set with a break in the first game and never looked back.

“I was down 5-3, 40-0 on his serve… you don’t always come back from this score,” said Zverev.

“I knew had to play much better than in the first two rounds. The further I go into the tournament the better I play.

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World number 150 Laaksonen, playing in the third round of a major for the first time, appeared to have picked up a thigh injury early in the opening set and was forced to take an off-court medical timeout.

“I didn’t feel anything (in my) last matches. Yesterday on practice nothing. Today warmup nothing either. When I started the match, everything was fine,” Laaksonen told reporters.

“So then I went on the 2-1 game to the backhand corner and I tried to recover from there and then I felt pain on the adductor, abductor — I don’t know which one it is inside. I couldn’t move then anymore.”

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The 29-year-old struggled to move around the court as Nishikori claimed the only break point of the set to take a 6-5 lead before rain halted play on the outer courts.

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