Melbourne: Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man to advance to the last 16 of the Australian Open since tennis was declared open in 1968 when the 24th seed rallied for a four-set victory over France's Julien Benneteau on Saturday.

Nishikori, who is seeded for the first time at a grand slam tournament, had taken an early lead in the match on show court three but was unable to prevent his 30-year-old opponent from sealing the first set.

The Japanese number one, however, won the next two sets in tiebreaks before closing out the match when he broke Benneteau's serve to love to win 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-3 in three hours, 25 minutes.

After sealing victory, the 22-year-old leapt into the air and thrust his fist skyward as he set up a fourth round meeting against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

(Agencies)