Updated: Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:18 | By Agence France-Presse

Nishikori hails 'perfect' start at Wimbledon

Kei Nishikori admitted he had made a perfect start to his Wimbledon campaign as the Japanese 10th seed moved into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of American qualifier Denis Kudla on Thursday.


Nishikori hails 'perfect' start at Wimbledon

Japan's Kei Nishikori returns to US player Denis Kudla during their men's singles second round match on day four of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 26, 2014 - by Andrew Yates

Nishikori has never gone past the third round at the All England Club in five attempts, but the world number 12 looks a good bet to end that frustrating run this year.

He was far too strong for Kudla, hitting 40 winners to just 14 from the world number 136, and hasn't dropped a set in his opening two matches.

The 24-year-old will Italy's Simone Bolelli for a place in the last 16.

"It's been almost perfect first and second rounds for me," Nishikori said.

"This year after the claycourt season I gained more confidence. My tennis is changing, more consistent, and everything is going well.

"Even on grass, my serve is getting better. Also I can be more aggressive from the groundstrokes now. I try to come in more on grass especially. I feel really comfortable."

Nishikori had expected to face a tough test from German 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last 32, but instead he has a winnable tie against Bolelli, the world number 132 who only qualified for the tournament as a lucky loser, defeating Japan's Tatsuma Ito in the first round before shocking Kohlschreiber.

Nishikori, whose best run at a Grand Slam came in 2012 when he reached the Australian Open quarter-finals, has lost in the Wimbledon third round for the last two years.

But his pre-Wimbledon grasscourt practice sessions with coach Michael Chang appear to be paying dividends already.

Following that intense training period with former French Open champion Chang, Nishikori reached the Halle semi-finals on grass.

He was never threatened by Ukraine-born Kudla, a 21-year-old who looked out of his depth as the Japanese star cruised to victory in 88 minutes on Court 18.

Asked if he feels ready to make a long run at Wimbledon, Nishikori's upbeat response spoke volumes.

"Hopefully I can go win the next one and make a big jump here," he said.

"It was almost a perfect game for me. I was able to break his serve early in each set and that meant I could relax. I was able to attack his groundstrokes. Also I returned was well today.

"He didn't have a big serve, so I was able to put some pressure on his service game. Everything worked well today."

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