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Tennis: Kei Nishikori upsets top-seed Thiem to reach Erste Bank Open semis

Japan’s Kei Nishikori advanced to the Erste Bank Open semifinals with a straight-sets victory over top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria on Friday.

Nishikori, the fifth seed, cruised past the world No. 7 at Vienna’s Stadthalle, winning 6-3, 6-1 to set up a semifinal with Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin on Saturday.

«I don’t know what to say. I’ve been able to play really well in these last two matches,» said Nishikori, who defeated Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-2 in the second round Thursday.

«It was almost a perfect match. Everything was good,» Nishikori said. «I think winning with this kind of score is a proof that I’m in top shape. Even when things went bad, I was able to come back and show good form.»

With the win, Nishikori reclaimed the No. 9 spot in the ATP Race to London and is currently 25 points ahead of American John Isner, who was knocked out of the 500 series tournament by France’s Gael Monfils in the second round.

The 28-year-old Japanese is making a late charge to the eight-player ATP Finals, in what would be his first appearance in two years when it opens in London on Nov. 11.

While Nishikori entered the tournament in Austria 535 points behind eighth-place Thiem, he may still be able to qualify for the ATP Finals dependent on the results of next week’s Paris Masters or if Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, out with a knee injury, withdraws from the season finale.

All — Kyodo News+

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