14th seed Kei Nishikori was forced to battle back from a set down against American wildcard James Blake in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. Struggling on his serve in the opening set, the 32-year old Blake was able to break twice to take the first set 2-6 en route to what would have been an upset. Nishikori, however, had other plans. Showing great resolve, the Japanese no. 1 turned things around in the 2nd and 3rd sets and ending Blake’s run in Cincinnati. Following nearly 100 minutes of play, the final scoreline read 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Nishikori will meet Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka in the 3rd round.
Rising Canadian player Milos Raonic experienced a similar storyline in his 2nd round match against world no. 42 Marcos Baghdatis. Despite serving at only 35% in the 1st set, the Cyprus native kept up with the hard hitting Canadian to trigger a tiebreak which he won 8-6. Like Nishikori in the previous match, Raonic rose to the occasion and improved his play as the match progressed into the 2nd and 3rd sets. Striking 22 aces to his opponent’s 7, Raonic dug himself out of trouble to take the match 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4. The Canadian has set up a confrontation with fellow hard-hitter Tomas Berdych in the 3rd round.
In other 2nd round action, world no. 1 Roger Federer breezed through his match against Alex Bogomolov Jr., winning 6-3, 6-2. Former Cincy semifinalist and 10th seed Mardy Fish was also victorious against Carlos Berlocq, while Stanislas Wawrinka scored an impressive upset over 4th seed David Ferrer in straight sets.
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