Kei Nishikori defeated replacement opponent David Ferrer in his final Group B match at the ATP World Tour Finals to finish the round robin phase with a 2-1 record on Thursday.
The Japanese 5th seed boosted his chances for a semi-finals appearance with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory against Spaniard Ferrer and improves to 21-2 (season’s best) record in deciding sets this year in ATP World Tour singles matches.
The US Open finalist hit 41 winners and won 80 per cent of his first service points to down No. 10-ranked Ferrer, who was drafted in for the injured Milos Raonic following the Canadian’s withdrawal earlier in the day.
The result means Andy Murray must now secure his 12th win over already qualified Roger Federer in straight sets to qualify for the semis when both players continue their nine-year rivalry in the evening session at London’s O2 Arena.
Six-time winner Federer, who is still in the race for the year-end No. 1 ranking with Top seed Novak Djokovic and leads Group B with a 2-0 match record, became the first singles player to qualify for the season finale tournament’s last four after Ferrer won the 46-minute opening set against Nishikori.