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Japan`s Nishikori feeling dangerous at Wimbledon

AFP| Updated: Jun 25, 2014, 04:39 AM IST

London: Kei Nishikori said Tuesday he was feeling in hot form at Wimbledon and was eager to go deep into the tournament for the first time.

The Japanese 10th seed has the Memphis and Barcelona titles under his belt this year -- the first time he has won multiple titles in a season -- and reached the semi-finals of the Halle grasscourt warm-up tournament, losing to eventual champion Roger Federer.

The 24-year-old, who has reached the Australian Open quarter-finals and the fourth round of the French and US Opens, has never progressed beyond round three at Wimbledon and wants to put that right this time.

"It`s one of my goals, to do well here at Wimbledon. I`m always excited to come here and play," he said.

"I`ve been playing really well this year. All the clay season helps, even on grass. I feel more confidence. Everything is going well for me. I had a good couple of matches in Halle, got more confidence on grass. If I can keep playing well, I think I can go farther this week."

Nishikori got through to the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday with a straight sets win over France`s big-serving Kenny de Schepper, the world number 73 who made the last 16 in 2013.

He won 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in front of dozens of appreciative Japanese fans on the Court 12 show court.

"It wasn`t a fun match for me. It was only actually two breaks," Nishikori said.

"The important thing is you have to really stay calm and concentrate your service game. I think I did that really well. I was happy to finish in three sets."

The Japanese, who is coached by Dante Bottini and 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, faces Denis Kudla of the United States in the second round.

"You have to play a couple of games, the first couple games. You have to find a couple of things that he does," Nishikori said on facing a new opponent for the first time.

"But my coach always finds tactics. Michael and Dante is always helping me before the match. Denis I think is tough on grass. There`s going to be a lot of rallies and groundstrokes. It`s not going to be easy."Elsewhere on Tuesday, Nishikori`s compatriot Yuichi Sugita was playing his debut Grand Slam match, having successfully navigated the qualifiers at the 18th time of asking.

He is in third place on the list for the most attempts before successfully qualifying for a major after Paolo Lorenzi (21) and Rik de Voest (19).

The 25-year-old was playing Spanish 19th seed Feliciano Lopez, three times a quarter-finalist at the All England Club.

"I`m really happy to see he`s in the main draw," Nishikori said.

"We`ve known each other for a long time. I know how tough it is to play qualifiers 18 times, and finally he got to the main draw."

Fellow Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito was to play lucky loser Simone Bolelli of Italy.

In the women`s draw on Wednesday, Kurumi Nara faces a second-round clash with five-time champion Venus Williams.

Misaki Doi made it through to a round two clash with Russian 22nd seed Ekatarina Makarova, who knocked out Kimiko Date-Krumm.