Less than two hours before the start of the second-last Group B round robin match of the tournament, Milos Raonic announced that he would be forced to withdraw from the event with a low grade tear in his right quad. This left Spain’s David Ferrer as the necessary alternate to contest the match-up against Kei Nishikori on court.
While Ferrer would not have qualified for the semi-finals no matter the result on Thursday, he still came out and played some outstanding tennis early on to push the contest to a deciding set – the first one to take place in five days of elite-eight action. However, he was unable to maintain his set lead over the Japanese No. 1 and eventually bowed out of the tournament after losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
“I think I began playing at a very good level without mistakes on my first serve,” said Ferrer. “The first games in the second set were not easy. Kei is playing very good. He is very confident in his game. In the third set, I was a little bit tight, and he was better.”
Nishikori’s three-set victory over Ferrer was his fourth straight against the Spaniard and sets him up for a spot in the semi-final round of the tournament. After Andy Murray lost the first set to Federer, Nishikori officially qualified for knockout stage of the tournament on his first attempt.
“It’s never easy playing against David because he’s very consistent from the baseline,” said Nishikori. “If I want to win, I have to do something to break his tennis. From the second set, I was more aggressive. The final set was almost perfect.”