Nishikori staves off Paire comeback to set up Nadal quarter-final
Kei Nishikori was forced to dig deep to see off home hope Benoit Paire in five sets and reach the French Open quarter-finals.
In a match which began on Sunday night after Stan Wawrinka's epic win over Stefanos Tsitsipas and was called off at sundown, the Japanese star triumphed 6-2, 6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 and will face Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster last-eight tie.
When play ended on Sunday, the 2014 US Open finalist had just won the third set and appeared to be bound for the next round but Paire made a strong fightback in the fourth, breaking Nishikori in the third game of the day. Though the Japanese levelled it up soon after, Paire held his nerve in the eventual breaker, saving two match points to take the set.
Paire, however, did not show such resolve in the decider. He had the chance to serve for the match at 5-4 but Nishikori produced some remarkable winners to rattle off three straight games and progress.
"I don't know what to say. I was down 5-3 in the fifth set and he was serving for the match but I was somehow able to come through," he told Eurosport.
"I took a chance and was able to play good tennis in the important points and I'm happy to win today.
"It's not easy, playing a long match today and the last match two days ago. It's not easy but I'll try to recover well for the next match.
"[Playing against Rafa] isn't going to be easy. He's the best player on the clay and he's been playing well."