Nishikori Shocks Federer On Opening Day Of The Nitto ATP Finals

Kei Nishikori

LONDON, November 11, 2018

Kei Nishikori caused the first upset at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals by winning 7-6(4), 6-3 against No. 2 seed Roger Federer on Sunday evening. In Gourp Lleyton Hewitt, the 28-year-old Japanese saved both break points he faced, converting one of his own two chances to secure victory in one hour and 27 minutes.

“I felt we both struggled throughout the first set. You could tell it was sort of a first round. I had my chances maybe a bit more than he did,” Federer said. “Then I started to feel better in the second set. I think we both did. The level went up. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep the lead that I got early.”

Nishikori sealed his first win over Federer since Miami 2014. “I’m glad to win, it is never easy to play with my idol, it is always a big challenge against him, so it was great to win,” said Nishikori.

Anderson beats Thiem

Earlier in the day, Kevin Anderson won 6-3, 7-6(10) against Dominic Thiem in a match between two Grand Slam finalists in 2018. The No. 4 seed from South Africa, who was 6-0 against Thiem entering the season before falling to the Austrian at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid and the US Open, hit 29 winners and served the match out with his 13th ace after one hour and 48 minute.

“I didn’t have a good start without having a chance to break him. The second set was a very good set of tennis but I lost in the end,” Thiem said.

“I think it was important, going out there and getting off to a good start,” Anderson commented. “I definitely felt a little bit nervous. But I was able to settle very quickly and find a really good rhythm, taking care of my serve games nicely, created quite a few opportunities on his serve.”

Murray/Soares first winners of the day

Doubles play began in Group Llodra/Santoro with two-time semi-finalists Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. The British-Brazilian combination opened the day with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-5 win over Wimbledon finalists Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus from New Zealand.

“I think we did really well to win,” said Murray. “It was a battle from the first game … I thought we competed really well, especially in both the tie-breaks, played a lot of good tennis when we really needed it. Yeah, [we’re] really happy to win the first match.”

In their eighth full season as a team, Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah opened their London campaign with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Nikola Mektic from Croatia and Austrian Alexander Peya in one hour and 10 minutes.

ATP Finals Notes:

    • Asked why Jamie Murray wore a shirt with his name on the back, he said: “I think it’s good for the guys to promote themselves. The tour has tried before, but the problem is guys change shirts often, you know, manufacturers, and season. It’s kind of difficult to keep it up unless you do it yourself, which obviously I’ve done.”
      His partner Bruno Soares, who didn’t wear his name on the shirt added with a smile: “He’s Jamie, I’m the other guy. I really hope to break the record for the number of logos on the shirt. Got to pay the bills. I have two kids, family. Expensive life.”
    • World No. 367 Peter Torebko of Germany practiced with Nishikori ahead of his opening match. “I was really nervous, but it was a good experience,” Torebko said.
    • Dominic Thiem was asked about his outfit and admitted to feel a bit uncomfortable with his shorts: