By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
- Kei Nishikori  def. Roger Federer  7-6(4) 6-3
LONDON, UK – Kei Nishikori stunned Roger Federer in a straight sets win, on the first day of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals.
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Kei Nishikori  def. Roger Federer  7-6(4) 6-3
When asked about chasing down his 100th title, Roger Federer had quipped in pre-tournament press that he was not bothered when and where No. 100 came, but that he would not go home from London with a 0-3 loss in the round robins.
Alas Kei Nishikori had other ideas. In a first set that was more a litany of errors from both with terrible serving stats from both, and not much better on the returns. Surprisingly despite some veritable howlers, there was not a break point to be had by either of them in the opening set, but the tie-break was a different story.
It was Nishikori who suddenly spurred into action, swiftly jumping out to a 6-1 lead, before converting the lead on his fourth set point. If there had been no break points in the first set, they more than made up for it by starting the second set with a trade of breaks, with Nishikori the first to hold serve.
With Federer looking increasingly distracted, even not realising a game had finished and waiting at the back of the court for the next point, it was no surprise that a slightly sharper Nishikori took advantage of that to snap up another break of serve before consolidating to love to hold a 5-2 lead over the six-time champion.
Federer held a lot more comfortably to force Nishikori to serve it out, but by now the Japanese player was far more into his stride that Federer as he registered a tour win over the World No. 2 for just the third time in his career.
Federer had joked that he had been losing in practice but was quick to quell that as any kind of issue.
He said: “I’ve been feeling, I mean, fine. It’s just that practice has been a bit all over the place. Practiced in Queen’s, practiced on the outside courts here, then centre as well. So, it’s not always exactly the same conditions. Overall, I thought I’m hitting the ball okay. Warmup today was totally fine.
“I think maybe we both had a bit of nerves, too, not knowing how to attack second serve. I thought I saw the bit of the same with Thiem, as well, early on, trying to get the right feel for it. I think we both struggled to get that early. It’s okay now, now that the first match is out of the way.”
Play continues in Day Two of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at 12pm.
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