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Tennis: Nishikori into semis on ATP World Tour Finals debut

Kei Nishikori celebrates after beating injury replacement David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Photo: AFP.

Kei Nishikori celebrates after beating injury replacement David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Photo: AFP.

November 14, 2013: Kei Nishikori beat injury replacement David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday and then secured his semi-final spot when Roger Federer beat Andy Murray in the final Group B match in London.

 

In his final round-robin match at the O2, Nishikori hit 41 winners and won 80 per cent of his first service points against Ferrer, a replacement for the injured Milos Raonic, who had earlier lost to Federer and Murray.

 

Nishikori, 24, recorded his 55th match win of a career-best season and his fourth straight three-setter against Ferrer.

 

“It’s never easy playing against David because he’s very consistent from the baseline,” Nishikori said, reported atpworldtour.com. “If I want to win, I have to do something to break his tennis. From the second set, I was more aggressive and the final set was almost perfect.”

 

The first Asian singles player to compete at the season finale took a 4-0 lead in the decider and subsequently improved to an ATP World Tour-best 21-2 record in deciding sets this year.

 

Nishikori now leads 5-3 in match-ups with Ferrer, having won all three of their meetings this year at Masters 1000 events in Miami, Madrid and Paris. The Spanish slugger was full of praise for the Japan No. 1.

 

“Kei is playing very good, is very confident in his game,” Ferrer said. “He has improved his game a lot and has a very good future. I think he will be in the top 10 for a lot of years, for sure.”

 

Nishikori beat Murray in his opening match in London, lost to Federer, but progressed to the semis on his tournament debut when the Swiss beat the Scot for a third straight win in London.

 

Nishikori had been due to play Raonic in his final Group B round-robin match, but the Canadian was forced to pull out on Thursday due to a right thigh injury.

 

Raonic, who had lost to Federer and Murray on his tournament debut, said: “As badly as I wanted to play, you’ve got to be at the top of your game here and I couldn’t be close to that. It wouldn’t have been fair to the fans if I had played a mediocre match or had to stop.

 

“I’ve had a great time here. It has been a great experience. It motivates me a lot to come here next year and do better than I did.”

 

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

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