Yoshihito Nishioka is definitely cursed in the round of 16 of the Grand Slam tournaments. After having lived a real nightmare against Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open this year (led 6-0, 6-0, 2-0, he lost 7-6 in the third set), the Japanese of 27 years, 33rd in the world, was beaten by a comparable score (but reversed) at the same stage of the competition at Roland-Garros against Tomas Martin Etcheverry (7-6 6-0, 6-1, in 2h04).
While the two bubbles he had wiped in Melbourne had left him in a state of distress on the Rod Laver Arena, this time Nishioka managed a promising start to the match. After erasing an entry break, he pushed the Argentinian to the tie-break, even getting a set point at 6-5. But the power of Etcheverry, a large size of 1m96m, got the better of the variations of the Japanese whose tank was emptying at high speed.
Nishioka on one leg
Added to the five sets played in the previous round against Brazilian Seyboth Wild, the 62 minutes of the first set weighed more and more on Nishioka’s legs. Touched on a resumption of support at the top of the left thigh at the start of the second set, he played the last two sets on one leg. The Argentinian lined up 11 games in a row and you could read the same distress in the eyes of the Japanese as in Australia.
The double bubble was taking shape when, after calling on the healer, Nishioka won a white service game by releasing his left-handed rounded shots. He offered himself a little respite in the next game with two break chances but Etcheverry erased them before falling to his knees after a 27th unforced error from his opponent. In the quarter-finals, Etcheverry, the first Argentinian at this stage of the competition since Diego Schwartzman in 2020, will face Alexander Zverev, easy winner of Grigor Dimitrov.