Japan's Kei Nishikori signs autographs after winning his fourth round match against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Japan’s Kei Nishikori reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the third time when he eased past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-2 6-4 on Sunday.

The seventh seed hit 31 winners and sealed his place in the last eight when Tsonga, seeded ninth, made his 36th unforced error by slashing a forehand wide to end the 122-minute contest on Rod Laver Arena.

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga signs autographs after losing his fourth round match against Japan's Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 24, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga signs autographs after losing his fourth round match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 24, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Nishikori, who was beaten on both his previous visits to the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, will next face reigning champion Novak Djokovic or Gilles Simon.

The former U.S. Open finalist’s victory avenged his defeat to Tsonga, runner up at Melbourne Park in 2008, in a five-set thriller at the French Open last year.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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