News Delhi: Kei Nishikori captured his second Japan Open Tennis Championships title on Sunday. The Japanese tennis star defeated Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 under a closed roof at the Ariake Colosseum, Tokyo. In the 2012 final too, Nishikori got the better of the big Canadian. The match lasted two hours and 13 minutes.
After a tight first set, which was won by Raonic, the US Open finalist played his heart out and captured the second and third sets to defend the home title. With the Japan Open title, the 24-year-old Japanese has won back-to-back ATP World Tour titles for the first time. Last week, he won the Malaysian Open by defeating Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the final at Kuala Lumpur. And four of his seven trophies have come in 2014.
With the win, the World Number 7 improves his chance of becoming the first Asian player to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals next month. He is currently ranked fifth in the Emirates ATP Race To London with 540 points behind No. 4-ranked Stan Wawrinka.
Runner-up Raonic is also in contention for the eight-man tournament and is placed at No. 8. Five of the eight singles spots still remain up for grabs for the season ending finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 9-16 November. Top three seeds Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have already booked their places.
With typhoon Phanfone advancing towards Tokyo early in the morning, organisers had no option but to close the retractable roof on the Center Court.
With agency inputs