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Nishikori outlasts Raonic in record late finish

ESPN staff
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Kei Nishikori completed his victory over Milos Raonic at 2:26am local time in New York © Getty Images
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Japan's Kei Nishikori fought back to claim a dramatic five-set victory over Milos Raonic to reach his first US Open quarter-final after equalling the latest finish in the tournament's history.

Nishikori, the 10th seed at Flushing Meadows, won 4-6 7-6(4) 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 in a match that ended at 2:26am local time on Tuesday morning.

"I tried to fight every point, and when I have to play well, I did," said Nishikori, who next faces Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka. The winner of that encounter will take on Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Raonic was unable to force a single break point in the final two sets as Nishikori worked him all over the court, securing the win with a simple volley after four hours and 19 minutes.

"His foot speed was the most probably difficult part," Raonic said. "He was taking the ball very early, controlling the centre of the court. He was keeping himself in a lot of situations where someone might be out of position. He was getting himself in good positions and giving himself good opportunities to swing at the ball properly."

Fifth seed Raonic, who lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of Wimbledon, made just 55 percent of his first serves, with Nishikori pouncing to reverse the result of their meeting at the same stage at SW14.

"It was tough to concentrate all the time against Milos," Nishikori said. "He has a great serve, lots of aces."

Nishikori's preparation for the US Open was hardly ideal, with a severely infected right big toe forcing him to miss warm-up events in Cincinnati and Toronto.

He even had to get his foot re-wrapped early in the fourth set against Raonic.

"I was doing a lot of training, but not tennis-wise. I start playing points a couple days ago before the tournament," Nishikori said. "I wasn't expecting big result like this, but after the first round I get more confidence on my foot. It's all good now."

Philipp Kohlschreiber's third-round win over John Isner in the 2012 US Open and Mats Wilander's second-round victory over Mikael Pernfors in 1993 also ended at 2:26am in New York.

Nishikori now takes on Wawrinka following the third seed's 7-5 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2 win over Tommy Robredo on Monday.

Robredo blew a chance to serve out the first set along with two set points in the third, with Wawrinka easing through the final set.

"That's why I'm normally so strong, because I know that I have [a] few lives," Wawrinka said. "Even if I can feel really bad, I always find solution how to get better, how to relax physically, and at the end I was feeling good."

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