VIENNA, October 26, 2018
Kei Nishikori continued his bid to qualify for a Nitto ATP Finals spot on Friday by knocking out the Erste Bank Open 500 home favourite Dominic Thiem. The fifth seed from Japan defeated the tournament’s No. 1 6-3, 6-1.
Nishikori won 59 per cent of the total points played and broke Thiem’s serve five times to advance in one hour and eight minutes. The 28-year-old from Japan will next take on qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, who rallied past Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4).
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 26. Oktober 2018
“I’m just happy to play good tennis,” said Nishikori. “Hopefully I can make London, but there is still one more tournament next week in Paris, so I just play 100 per cent here in Vienna and hope I can carry on the momentum to Paris.”
Thiem, who never passed the stage of the final eight in Vienna, was hoping to become the first Austrian to lift the trophy since Jürgen Melzer in 2010.
“He played really strong throughout the match, while a few things did not work that well for my game. I only made 26 per cent of the points on my second serve. Return and serve did not work and I never really got into the rallies. He’s a type of player that can hurt a lot, especially indoors because he takes the ball very early.” Thiem said.
Later in the day, No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson benefited from the retirement of Borna Coric from Croatia. The World No. 8 from South Africa was leading 7-6(2), 2-1 when Coric was forced to stop playing. Anderson will next face Fernando Verdasco, who was leading 6-4, 2-1 when Frenchman Gael Monfils retired from the match due to injury.