Nishikori stuns out-of-sorts Federer

Roger Federer suffered a surprise defeat in his opening match of the ATP Finals as Kei Nishikori raced to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory in London.

Kei Nishikori celebrates beating Roger Federer   -  Getty Images

Kei Nishikori produced a huge upset at the ATP Finals on Sunday with a straight-sets victory over a below-par Roger Federer.

Nishikori came into his opening match of the round-robin stage having not beaten Federer in their six previous meetings, but the world number nine battled to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win at the O2 Arena.

It adds to a remarkable second half of 2018 for Nishikori, who started the year playing ATP Challenger events as he came back from wrist surgery.

Inflicting a rare defeat on Federer is undoubtedly the highlight of the year for Japanese, the six-time winner of the end-of-season event well short of his usual standards as he began his bid for a 100th career crown.

Read: Siniakova clinches Fed Cup glory in Prague

Federer's troubles began in game four as a wayward forehand and another into the net allowed Nishikori to gain some momentum, although neither player was able to fashion a break point.

The serene backhand that has defined Federer's career looked to have kicked into gear by game seven, but putting Nishikori under pressure proved a task too far.

He did have a 0-30 advantage in the 12th but Nishikori battled back to force a tie-break, and mistakes from Federer handed his opponent the lead.

After no breaks of serve in the first set, Nishikori double-faulted in the opener of the second, but Federer gifted the advantage straight back as his out-of-character display continued.

The sixth game proved crucial as Nishikori converted a break chance to lead 4-2, his deep forehand proving too good for Federer's backhand.

Crucially for Nishikori he then served out two games with aplomb, not giving Federer a sniff of a chance as he blew Group Lleyton Hewitt wide open.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Nishikori [7] bt Federer [2] 7-6 (7-4) 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nishikori – 6/22
Federer – 19/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nishikori – 2/4
Federer – 4/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nishikori – 2/2
Federer – 1/2 

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nishikori – 52
Federer – 57 

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nishikori – 77/62
Federer – 78/54

TOTAL POINTS
Nishikori – 66
Federer – 58 

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