Kei Nishikori became the first man through to the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday, extending a campaign that has featured little fanfare or fuss.
Nishikori outclassed former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-2 6-4 at Melbourne Park to set up a likely showdown on Tuesday with defending champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
The seventh seed has not dropped a single set in his opening four matches but knows things won’t be so easy in the round of eight against Djokovic or Frenchman Gilles Simon.
“It’s going to be tough. Novak is playing amazing this year and Gilles is also a tough player,” Nishikori said.
“We’ll see who is going to win.”
Tsonga fired 13 aces on Sunday but was too inconsistent, with Nishikori breaking his serve five times.
Nishikori took two hours to dispatch the ninth-seeded Frenchman, clambering into the final eight for a third time at Melbourne Park.
The 26-year-old, who finished runner-up at the 2014 US Open, is happy flying under the radar as he seeks a maiden grand slam title.
“One match at a time. I focus on what I have to do,” he said.
“I felt very good. Especially against a player like Jo, it’s great to win in straight sets and I thought I played a good match.
“Really happy to be in a quarter-final .. good recovery tomorrow and hopefully I can play another good match.”
Nishikori has won two of his seven clashes with Djokovic on tour, including the 2014 US Open semi-final.