Yoshihito Nishioka was part of a bronze match on Sunday, but it didn’t involve a medal, and it’s not something he’ll want to be remembered for.
In the second set against Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open, the Japanese player only managed to win two points in six games.
In the world of tennis, it’s known as a “bronze set”.
Khachanov charged into his first quarter-final in the devastating straight-sets win over Nishioka.
The world No. 20 won the first 14 games of the match and seemed destined to embarrass Nishioka with a triple-bagel win – when a player wins 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 – but the Japanese 33rd seed rallied against the Russian’s firepower in the third set, losing in a tie-break.
“First two sets, I didn’t know what was going on,” Khachanov said. “You’re going with the score, let’s say, too easy. Then Yoshi turned it around, pumped the crowd and I tried to stay focused from beginning to end.”
While the triple-bagel eluded him, Khachanov only lost two points in the second set.
Nishioka only won 13 points in the first two sets to Khachanov’s 51, before the Japanese was able to make it a contest in the third.
“I tried to stay focused all the match from the beginning, but it’s not easy to win with this score, three straight sets,” Khachanov said.
“So the third set was a really tough one.
“I’m playing well, so I’m really happy to go through.”
Khachanov defeated Nick Kyrgios in the US Open quarter-finals last year.
The big-serving Russian smashed 15 aces and 30 winners to usher himself into a quarter-final clash against American Sebastian Korda on Tuesday.
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