Tokyo: Kei Nishikori will take his growing confidence on court into the concluding weeks of the ATP season, with hopes of becoming the first Asian man to qualify for the eight-man final in November.
"I`m sixth now (in the season points race) and I`m really hoping to qualify for the World Tour Finals," he said on Tuesday at the Japan Open after a doubles win.
The Japanese player, who was last weekend`s champion in Kuala Lumpur, said it was the first year he had had the chance to reach the final.
"It`s something that every player wants to play. I`m happy about standing sixth but I have a lot of work over the next weeks," he said.
"I`m pleased to be in this position but the race is very close and a lot of players are trying to earn a place. Some good results over the rest of this Asian swing will help, I`m hoping to do well," added Japan`s US Open finalist, who plays next week in Shanghai.
Nishikori will open his singles campaign as fourth seed against Croatian Ivan Dodig on Wednesday in front of his home crowd at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old is Japan`s only player in the ATP top 100, with the other six Japanese players still ranked within the top 170.
Nishikori won the Tokyo title in 2012 and is the only Japanese to lift the honour.
In first-round results, German Benjamin Becker beat Kuala Lumpur semi-finalist Jarkko Nieminen as the Finn retired trailing 7-5, 4-1.
American Donald Young stopped Japan`s Go Soeda 6-4, 6-2.