Kei Nishikori shocked seed no. 2 and 6-times World Tour Finals Champion, Roger Federer – 7-6 (4), 6-3.
The Japanese had a huge following, as I found myself surrounded by fans waving the Japan’s flag.
Nishikori was the more focused player.
His tactics were spot on:
– He hit many balls directly to his opponent or close to his feet;
– He didn’t allow any rhythm to the Swiss, constantly varying his shots;
– He managed to play more on Roger’s backhand, which was a mess;
– He won most of the long rallies.
On the other side of the net, the 20-time Grand Slam Champion was unrecognizable.
He looked tired, low on confidence, motivation and made a ton of unforced errors.
It is a tournament where any result is expected, as they all are from the elite. But the manner in which the Swiss Maestro lost was disappointing.
Playing a long rally that could’ve brought him the 1st set, the 37-years old almost won the point, just for the World no. 7 to land a drop shot that caught the Swiss too far from the ball.
Coming to the net trying to hit the ball, he arrived too late and launched the ball high up in the arena. The referee saw it as an angry act and warned Federer.
I found the warning abusive, as it wasn’t an angry act, but just arrived too late at the ball. Stretching to reach the ball, he got under it and hit it too hard.
Federer was surprised as the 20.000 spectators were and tried to contest it, with no success though.
Then at another important point from the 2nd set, the Swiss asked for a challenge and the referree refused it, saying it is too late. Roger contested it and then the referee accepted it. But the Swiss just gave up on it, upset on the referee’s attitude.
All in all, I don’t believe the referee’s actions changed the match’s result. However, it wasn’t nice for the fans.
Kei Nishikori definetly deserved the win and, as always, was very modest in his after match interview.