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Kei Nishikori powers past Steve Johnson

Another win, another fourth-round berth for Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open.

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Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori is through to the last 16 at the Australian Open for the third consecutive year after blitzing Steve Johnson 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-2 6-3 on Saturday.

Nishikori was challenged by the American at the Brisbane International almost a fortnight ago and he was tested again on Hisense Arena, as he rallied from losing the first set to progress to the fourth round in Melbourne.

Both Nishikori and Johnson exchanged breaks to start the opening set.

Nishikori attacked Johnson's second serve with a powerful two-handed forehand for a 2-1 lead.

But the towering American broke back in the sixth game after Nishikori sent his forehand into the net.

Neither player could be separated as the set went into a tie-break.

Johnson stormed out of the blocks, taking a 4-1 lead before Nishikori awoke from his slump, winning five of the next six points for a 6-5 buffer.

But Johnson hit the front again as he served out the set at the second time of asking, albeit with some help from Nishikori, who fluffed his shot.

Nishikori wasted little time making amends for the first set, taking a 3-0 lead.

That lead quickly became a set-sealing advantage as Nishikori, who tallied up 12 winners to Johnson's four, poked the ball into an empty court to level the match.

Nishikori was relentless in the third set, winning the first four games without reply as Johnson registered nine unforced errors.

Johnson won two games to save some face but Nishikori was not to be denied the third set, which was wrapped up in 33 minutes.

The fourth set was a closer affair as Johnson kept pace with Nishikori up until the latter broke for a decisive 4-3 lead.

That proved a bridge too far for Johnson, who dropped serve in the ninth game, handing Nishikori the match and a fourth-round berth.

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