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Nishikori rides big serve into 4th round

The Associated Press

Kei Nishikori serves to Gilles Muller during their third-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday in Indian Wells, Calif.

Jiji-Japan News INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori, riding a strong service game, advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller on Tuesday in Indian Wells.

Nishikori, ranked No. 5 in the world, held serve throughout the match, while breaking the 25th-seeded Muller’s serve in third and fifth games of the first set, and again twice in the second set.

“Everything about the match went well,” said Nishikori, who will next face world No. 60 Donald Young of the United States at the Masters-level event. “The best part was my serve.”

Giving up 15 centimeters in height, Nishikori would normally have trouble breaking the left-handed Muller’s serve. But he didn’t, and he had the more effective serve. In the first set, Nishikori was accurate on 20 of 21 first serves, and gained points off 75 percent of them.

Coming off a first-round loss at the Rio Open, Nishikori focused on his serve in practice, and his effort paid off. On Tuesday, his serve combined speed (he consistently hit 190 kph on the speed gun) and accuracy (his first-serve percentage was 77 percent).

“That might be my best ever,” he said of his first-serve percentage.Speech

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