Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka made history at the US Open on Wednesday when they became the first Japanese man and woman to reach the semifinals in the same Grand Slam. Nishikori reached the last four men's singles with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic, the man who beat him in the 2014 final . Previously, Osaka defeated Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals of the women's singles. Nishikori will play in his third US Open semifinal after similar races in 2014 and 2016.
The 29-year-old also reached the quarterfinals of the other three Slams, including Wimbledon this year, the first Japanese to do so in 23 years.
"It's great to see him," said Nishikori, who missed the 2017 US Open due to an injury.
"Naomi is doing well, because she won a Masters (Indian Wells), I think she can now win a title.
"It's a great opportunity for her."
Osaka, 20, is the first Japanese woman to reach the last four of any Slam since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996, a year before she was born.
Osaka had reached the Australian Open last 16 in January in his best previous race in the majors.
He had also captured the prestigious Indian Wells title in March and defeated Serena Williams in Miami.
"The rooms were kind of my mental goal, every time I played a Grand Slam," Osaka said.
"And after going into the rooms, I want to continue, so I feel like I have to focus again and keep trying hard."
Before Nishikori, only Shuzo Matsuoka had made the last eight in men's singles in a specialization at Wimbledon in 1995.
Date also made the last eight of the women the same year at Wimbledon and the semifinals the following year.
Date was also a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 1995.
Until the Osaka race this year, the best performance of a Japanese woman in New York was in 2004 when Shinobu Asagoe reached the quarterfinals.
"Well, it definitely means a lot to me, and I always thought that if I won a Grand Slam, the first one I wanted to win is the US Open, because I grew up here," said Osaka, who was born in Japan but has lived most of his life. life in the United States.
"Then my grandparents can come and watch, I think it would be great."
The following for Nishikori is a confrontation against two-time champion and former world number one Novak Djokovic or John Millman, the Australian who surprised Roger Federer in the fourth round.
Osaka faces the 14th seed in the US UU Madison Keys, the runner-up in 2017 or the Spanish Carla Suárez Navarro.