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Tennis: Japanese star Nishikori to rise to record-high ranking

Kei Nishikori celebrates his three-set semi-final win over Kevin Anderson. Photo: Abierto Mexicano Telcel.

Kei Nishikori celebrates his three-set semi-final win over Kevin Anderson. Photo: Abierto Mexicano Telcel.

February 28, 2015: Top seed Kei Nishikori will rise to at least a career-high of World No. 4 after beating fourth seed Kevin Anderson 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Friday to advance to the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Mexico.

 

Should he beat David Ferrer to win the Acapulco crown and Rafael Nadal fails to win the title in Buenos Aires, Nishikori will become the new World No. 3. Andy Murray and Nadal are currently World Nos. 3 and 4 respectively, while Nishikori is No. 5.

 

Nishikori, 25, hit six aces and 29 winners in his semi-final, which clocked in at just over two hours.

 

“I’m playing my game and it’s going really well,” Nishikori said. “I think my serve was much better in the third set and I was making a lot of returns. It was a tough match, but I’m happy to make the final.”

 

Second seed Ferrer reached the final by defeating American qualifier Ryan Harrison 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 in one hour and 52 minutes.

 

Ferrer, 32, has started the year with a 17-1 match record and will play for his third ATP World Tour title of the season. The Valencia native lifted the Doha trophy in the first week of the season and last week triumphed on clay in Rio de Janeiro.

 

However, Nishikori leads Ferrer 7-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, handing the Spaniard his only defeat of the season so far when he won their most recent contest in straight sets in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam.

 

“The last matches against him have not been very good. I hope to be able to turn the situation around,” Ferrer said.

 

“He is playing very well. I need to be very strong physically and mentally. Kei has changed. Physically and mentally he is a very dangerous player. He is a consolidated Top 10 player.”

 

Ferrer won the title at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament three times from 2010 to 2012, when it used to be held on clay, and also finished runner-up to Nadal in 2013.

 

Source: ATP World Tour (www.atpworldtour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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