New York, Sep 6 (AP/UNB) — Kei Nishikori looked around Arthur Ashe Stadium and noticed the crowd.
With Nishikori playing immediately after Naomi Osaka on Wednesday, the U.S. Open became must-see viewing for Japanese tennis fans.
"It's good to have, you know, home support outside of Japan," he said. "Yeah, it's great news we're both in the semis."
Historic news, actually.
Both players won — Osaka decisively, Nishikori narrowly — to give Japan a men's and women's semifinalist at the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time, according to the ATP Tour.
Nishikori rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted 4 hours, 8 minutes. Osaka routed Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1 in just 57 minutes, the third time in her five matches in the tournament that she finished in less than an hour.
"I think she can, you know, win a title now, even (a) Grand Slam. So I feel, you know, big chance for her," Nishikori said.
"Also happy for myself, too, being injured last year."
That was a wrist injury that kept him off the tour from late last season until early this year. He started to regain his form in the spring, was back up to the No. 21 seed for his return to Flushing Meadows, and awaits No. 6 Novak Djokovic on Friday.
Meanwhile, Osaka won a Masters title at Indian Wells and with her strong run in New York, where she will next play 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys, she has picked up more of a following from the Japanese media — though she believes there's a different reason for that.
"I think it's because of Kei," she said, holding her hands apart to show how much bigger Nishikori is in Japan, from where her family moved to New York when she was 3.
So big, in fact, that she was too nervous to talk to him until recently.
Once she did, the 20-year-old Osaka found they had plenty in common. Nishikori, 8 years older, was like a "really big kid" who liked to play video games and have fun like her.
"Overall, he's just really nice and positive and bubbly and stuff," Osaka said.
Only once had Japan had a man and woman reach the quarterfinals of the same major, and Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date both lost in that round at Wimbledon in 1995.
Nishikori and Osaka are looking to keep right on going. Their victories provided a boost to their baseball-crazed country on an otherwise downer of a day with the news that Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani had new damage in his right elbow and major surgery was been recommended.
When Nishikori became the first Asian male to reach a Grand Slam singles final four years ago, hundreds of fans packed into a convention hall to cheer him on at a standing-room-only public viewing event in his hometown of Matsue.
Now there might be two such events in Japan this weekend.
"Hopefully we do well this week," Nishikori said.
New York, Sep 6 (AP/UNB) — Novak Djokovic put aside all of it, from his opponent's unheard-of, middle-of-a-set chance to change out of sweat-soaked clothes and shoes, to consecutive time violations because he let the serve clock expire, to the 16 break points he wasted.
All that mattered, really, was that Djokovic managed to do what Roger Federer could not two nights earlier: beat 55th-ranked John Millman at the U.S. Open.
Djokovic moved a step closer to a third championship at Flushing Meadows and 14th Grand Slam title overall by eliminating Millman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to get to the tournament's semifinals for an 11th appearance in a row. He sat out last year because of an injured right elbow.
The No. 6-seeded Djokovic, who won Wimbledon in July, had been drawn to face Federer in the quarterfinals. But Millman scuttled that showdown by stunning the 20-time Grand Slam champ in four sets in the fourth round on a hot and humid evening that Federer said sapped his energy and made it hard to breathe.
"I was, alongside many other people, anticipating the match against Federer," Djokovic said.
This night was cooler, as the temperature dipped into the 70s, but the humidity was above 80 percent, so with Millman drenched, he sought permission for a wardrobe change at 2-all in the second set. It was odd enough to see a player be allowed to do that during, instead of after, a set, but even odder for it to happen after an even number of games, rather than at an odd-game changeover.
"I was struggling. He was struggling. We were all sweating. Changing a lot of T-shirts, shorts," said Djokovic, who will face 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori on Friday. "Just trying to find a way to hang in there."
When Millman apologized for leaving the court at that juncture, Djokovic replied, "I'm fine to have a little rest," then sat down on his sideline bench without a shirt on and cooled off.
"I didn't even know the rule," said Millman, whose request to leave briefly was permitted based on something called the "Equipment Out of Adjustment" provision in the International Tennis Federation guidelines, because his sweat was making the court slippery.
Widely considered the best returner in the game, Djokovic kept accumulating chances — and then failing to cash them in. He was able to come through on only four of his 20 break points.
There were other issues for him, too, including in the third set when, ahead by a break, he was called by the chair umpire for allowing the 25-second serve clock, making its Grand Slam debut at this tournament, to run out on back-to-back points. After the first, he double-faulted, and he wound up getting broken there.
But he broke back in the match's next-to-last game, then served out the victory at love.
"I think the guy's beat a brick wall once," Millman said, "because he makes you work hard for every point and it's relentless."
Earlier Wednesday, Nishikori defeated the man he lost to in the final four years ago, Marin Cilic, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4. Add that to No. 20 Naomi Osaka's 6-1, 6-1 win over unseeded Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine, and Osaka and Nishikori give Japan semifinalists in both men's and women's singles at the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time in tennis history.
"It's great to see," said Nishikori, who is into his third major semifinal — all in New York — but is still in search of his initial Slam trophy.
For Osaka, who is 20, this is her first trip past the fourth round at a major. She purported to be "freaking out inside," even if it certainly never showed.
She'll face No. 14 Madison Keys of the U.S. on Thursday night. Serena Williams plays No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the other semifinal.
Keys was one of four American women in the final four a year ago, when she was the runner-up to Sloane Stephens.
She's the only member of that quartet who made it back.
Still in search of her first Grand Slam title, the Keys reached her third semifinal in the past five majors by using her big-strike game built on serves and forehands to overpower No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-3.
Keys won all 10 of her service games, saving the only two break points she faced. One came in the last game as she served for the victory, but she erased it with a forehand winner, part of a 22-10 edge in that category.
Keys, who is 23, thinks she is more equipped than ever to deal with important moments on important stages.
"I've gotten a lot better managing my emotions once it gets to this part and knowing that everything is going to be probably more amped up," she said. "And not shying away from those, but just really being honest about it and talking about it."
Jhenaidah, Sept 6 (UNB) - Jhenaidah Pourashava Eleven beat touring Kalyani Pourashava team of Nadia district of India by 1-0 goal in a friendly U-18 football match at the local Bir Shreshta Hamidur Rahman Stadium on Thursday.
The winners scored the match decider in the 2nd half from a penalty.
Deputy Commissioner of Jehnaidah Saroj Kumar Nath distributed the trophies as the chief guest.
Mayor of the Jhenaidah Pourashava Saidul Karim Mintu, Additional Police Super Milu Miah Biswas along with Coordinator of the visiting team Milon Ghosh and Coach Devabrata Biswas were also present at the match witnessed by several thousand local soccer fans.
Dhaka, Sep 6 (UNB) – Bangladesh have almost assured a semifinal berth in the seven-nation SAFF Suzuki Cup with a 1-0 goal victory against Pakistan in a hard-fought Group A match under floodlight and amid huge cheers from some 18,000 crowd at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday.
Veteran defender Topu Barman scored the match winner for Bangladesh by a close range cool header that kissed the Pakistani net through the right corner.
Photo: Bayazid Akter/UNB
With the feat, Bangladesh topped the group list with all-win record securing full six points from two matches after making a 2-0 win over Bhutan, which have already been eliminated from the meet.
Despite the defeat, Pakistan also remained in the race for the semifinal with three points from two matches with a 2-1 win over Nepal in the tournament opener.
Pakistan have a chance to reach the semifinals if they could manage a win against Bhutan and Bangladesh either beat Nepal or draw in their next group matches, both on Saturday (September 8).
In the day’s match, Pakistan defended almost all the time with quick counterattack strategy while Bangladesh continued the forceful game by keeping 61.1 percent ball position.
Photo: Bayazid Akter/UNB
Bangladesh missed some chances in the second half. In the 69th minute, Masuk Miah Zoni took a header from the centre of the box off a Waly Faisal cross but went high and wide to the right post.
Forward Biplu Ahmed took a right-footed shot from outside the box, but the ball went straight to the grip of the goalie in the 58th minute.
Pakistan forward Muhammad Ali took a right-footed shot from the centre of the box only to go over edging the top right corner of the crosspiece in the 55th minute.
Pakistan captain Saddam Hussain missed a chance in the 46th minute as his right-footed shot from outside the box went high and wide to the right.
Earlier in the first half, Bangladesh started to play a forceful game after 10 minutes and made an attempt in the 29th minute as forward Saad Uddin’s right-footed long shot from the left flank went high and wide to the left off a Topu Barman pass.
The hosts continued pressing game and missed two chances as midfielder Masuk Miah Zoni’s right-footed shot from outside the box was blocked by Pakistani defence in the 40th minute before forward Mahbubur Rahman’s right-footed shot from more than 35 yards missed the left in the 42nd minute.
Photo: Bayazid Akter/UNB
Pakistan created a couple of quick counterattacks in between 20-30 minutes, but Bangladesh defenders foiled all their efforts.
Bangladesh goalie Sahidul Alam saved the post in the 9th minute as he foiled Pakistani forward Muhammad Ali’s header from inside the box, fisting the ball over the crosspiece.
Bangladesh brought two changes in the playing eleven as Shakhawat Hossain Rony and Emon Mahmud came in replacing injured Mahbubur Rahman and Biplu Ahmed respectively.
Pakistan also brought two changes in their playing eleven as Saadullah Khan and Faheem Ahmed replaced injured Mehmood Khan and Muhammad Adil respectively.
Masuk Miah Zoni fouled Pakistani forward Mehmood Khan in the 40th minute and got a yellow card.
Topu Barman was shown a yellow card for excessive celebration pulling off the jersey after scoring the match winning goal.
Pakistan defender Mohsin Ali was shown the yellow card as he committed foul with defender Bishwnath Ghosh.
Points table after each sides playing out two matches:
Team Match Win Loss GF GA GD Points
Bangladesh 2 2 0 3 0 +3 6
Nepal 2 1 1 5 2 +3 3
Pakistan 2 1 1 2 1 +1 3
Bhutan 2 0 0 0 6 -6 0
Dhaka, Sept 6 (UNB) – Touring Sri Lanka Air Force team beat Bangladesh Air Force team by 3-1 sets in a friendly volleyball match at the volleyball ground of BAF Base Bangabandhu on Thursday.
Air Officer Commanding of BAF Base Bangabandhu Air Vice Marshal M Shafiqul Alam witnessed the match as the chief guest and later he distributed prizes among the teams.
Senior officers, airmen and other members of Bangladesh Air Force were present on the occasion.
Sri Lanka Air Force volleyball team arrived here on September 3 in a tour aimed at strengthening the existing friendly relationship between BAF and SLAF.