Japanese star set for French resistance

KEI Nishikori faces the prospect of beating home-town hero Jo Wilfried-Tsonga in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros to become the first Japanese player in 82 years to reach the semi-finals of the French Open.

The 25-year-old (pictured), who is trying to emulate the achievements of countryman Jiro Satoh who reached the last four at the tournament in 1931 and 1933, said learning how to be successful on clay had been a big challenge.

"It always means a lot to make history. Especially for Japanese, Asian (players) the clay is not the best surface for us," Nishikori said. "Now I'm trying to make the new step. I hope I can keep going like this on clay courts."

The world No.5 earned his spot in the quarters by downing unseeded Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 6-4 6-2, while Tsonga defeated fourth-seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 6-7 6-2 to move into the last eight at his home grand slam for the third time.

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