Raonic, Nishikori win, Isner out at Washington
Milos Raonic returns a shot during his Washington Open match against Jack Sock on July 30, 2014 - by Patrick Smith
Raonic ousted American Jack Sock 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3) while Nishikori outlasted American Sam Querrey 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and Steve Johnson downed countryman Isner 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Czech top seed Tomas Berdych was set to face US qualifier Robby Ginepri in a later match at the $1.9 million (1.4m euro) hardcourt tune-up for the US Open.
Raonic, coming off his first Grand Slam semi-final run at Wimbledon that ended with a loss to Roger Federer, advanced to a third-round match with 33-year-old Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion.
Sock seized a 3-1 edge in the first tie-breaker but Raonic answered by winning the next six points to claim the opening set, the last coming when Sock netted a forehand.
Sock served for the second set in the 10th game but Raonic broke back and reached another tie-breaker that was deadlocked 3-3. Raonic swatted a forehand winner off a net ball and won the next three points for the victory in one hour 42 minutes.
Nishikori, seeking his sixth career title and third of the year, fired nine aces against 12 by Querrey in advancing after one hour and 52 minutes.
"It was tough. He was serving great," said Nishikori. "I have to take a little chance when he's serving and I did that in the last set.
"I stayed solid from the baseline and concentrated on my service games. It was a good finish. There were some tight moments but I'm very happy with the way I'm playing."
The 24-year-old Asian star, ranked 11th, next faces Slovakian Lukas Lacko with French sixth seed Richard Gasquet a potential quarter-final foe.
"I had some rough points because it was my first match after Wimbledon," said Nishikori. "I need more confidence from playing more matches but it was good to win the first match."
Isner fired 29 aces but double-faulted for the third and final time on the penultimate point to help Johnson, who never faced a break point in the match.
Isner was coming off a title last week in Atlanta.
Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos upset Spanish eighth seed Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. He meets Colombian Santiago Giraldo next.
On the women's side, Japan's Kurumi Nara was leading 3-6, 6-2, 4-0 when Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan retired with a right elbow injury.
That advanced Nara into a quarter-final against France's Kristina Mladenovic, who followed up a win over Czech top seed Lucie Safarova with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over US qualifier Taylor Townsend.
New Zealand's Marina Erakovic defeated American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-2, to book a last-eight matchup with Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, who eliminated the last seed in her half of the draw, Romanian number eight Sorana Cirstea, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
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