With two consecutive title wins and a nine-match win streak to boot, Kei Nishikori will arrive in Shanghai brimming with confidence,. The Japanese No. 1 will begin his week at the second-last Masters event of the season against Jack Sock, whom he has previously encountered on the professional tour. Nishikori leads the series 1-0 and will be looking to extend that lead further and add to his thunderous momentum in Asia.
Nishikori, who was coming off a title win the week prior in Kuala Lumpur, lifted the Tokyo title for a second time in his career with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over the Canadian in a match that saw exceptional points from both for the entire two hours and 13 minute length of the contest.
Nishikori, currently sitting at No. 5 in the Race to London, is in a strong position to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals but is well aware of the final stretch of tournaments forthcoming.
“I hope to get to London,” said Nishikori. “I am getting close, but there are two more [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000s and 500s left. These next few weeks will be really important for me.”
In one of the better matches of the opening day of main draw matches, Jack Sock defeated former Australian No. 1 Bernard Tomic 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-4 to reach the second round of the tournament. The contest lasted 2 hours and 27 minutes and saw the American withstand 15 aces, won 71% of his first service points and saved 3 of 4 break points en route to his victory.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nishikori leading the series 1-0. This is their first meeting of the season, as the Japanese No. 1 beat Sock in the second round in Washington. Given his lengthy run over the past couple of weeks, Nishikori may need three sets to get past Sock this time around.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets