Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who came into the year-ending event as a replacement for the injured Juan Martin del Potro, did not disappoint as he brilliantly rose to the occasion, defeating six-time champion, Roger Federer 7-6, 6-3 in the pair’s first singles match in Group Llyeton Hewitt at The O2 in London on Sunday.
Federer, who was hoping to get his bid for a 100th career singles title off to a good start, got betrayed by his nerves, showing frustration and also received a warning from the umpire for swiping a ball into the stands in the first set. After Nishikori clinched the tiebreaker in a tight first set, the Japanese would go on to find the crucial break in the second set and run away from the remainder of the match.
It is the first time since 2014 that Nishikori has beaten Federer.
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 11, 2018
“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, a two-time finalist at this event.
Nishikori will face Kevin Anderson next, while Federer, who has now lost his opening match at the event for the fourth time, takes on Dominic Thiem, who lost to Kevin Anderson earlier.