Nishikori Advances to Quarterfinals of Brisbane International

Brisbane, Australia (Sports Network) – Former top-10 player Gilles Simon and rising Japanese star Kei Nishikori were among Wednesday’s second-round winners at the season-opening Brisbane International tennis event, an Australian Open tune-up.

The third-seeded world No. 16 Simon got past Colombian Alejandro Falla in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), while the fifth-seeded and 19th- ranked Nishikori handled former top-10 star Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-3, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Also on Day 3, fourth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov was ahead of veteran player Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-1 when the 2008 Brisbane runner-up from Finland retired because of an illness and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, a former Aussie Open finalist, upended sixth-seeded German Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals this week. Dolgopolov was last year’s Brisbane runner- up to U.S. Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray.

Read the rest of the story: Simon, Nishikori advance in Brisbane.

Tennis: Bartoli beats Stosur to win Japan Open

Second-seeded Marion Bartoli of France cruised to a straight-sets victory over top-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia to win the Japan Open on Sunday.

Bartoli defeated the U.S. Open champion 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hour, 14 minutes on the hard court at the Utsubo Tennis Center. The Frenchwoman broke Stosur twice in the opening set and held serve throughout the match on the way to her second WTA Tour victory of the season.

It was also the seventh WTA Tour title of Bartoli’s career.

Read the rest of the story: Bartoli beats Stosur to win Japan Open.

Sharapova admits Japan fears

World number two Maria Sharapova Sunday admitted to concerns about playing in the Pan Pacific Open in Japan after the March earthquake-tsunami sparked the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

But the popular Russian said that the presence of seven of the worlds top 10 womens players in Tokyo should serve as "a big statement" of support for Japan in a time of crisis.

"There was definitely a lot of talk before the tournament, a lot of players having concerns whether its safe to come here," Sharapova said.

Read the rest of the story: Sharapova admits Japan fears.

Nadal wins Japan Open crown

World number one Rafael Nadal returned to winning ways as he captured his seventh title of the season with a straight sets win over Gael Monfils of France in the Japan Open on Sunday.

Nadal was beaten in the semifinals of the preceding Thailand Open and had to survive two match points against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki to reach the final where he made no mistake against Monfils.

The 24-year-old Spaniard cruised to a 6-1 7-5 win over the fifth seed who wants to continue the domination he has shown this season by winning three grand slams.

"It’s very important for me to win a title. I want to finish the season well, and it’s a perfect way to finish the season. So I’m happy for that. I enjoy this moment, because winning a title is difficult," he told the official ATP Tour website.

Read the rest of the story: Nadal thrashes Monfils to claim Japan Open crown.