02:55 PM GMT November 14, 2016
Kei Nishikori produced a devastating service display against Stan Wawrinka on Monday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The fifth-seeded Japanese star lost just 11 of his service points in a 6-2, 6-3 victory over 67 minutes to start off his Group John McEnroe campaign in style.
Nishikori, who is competing at The O2 in London for the third straight year, beat Wawrinka for the third time in seven meetings for his 58th match win of the season. This week, he’ll be hoping to improve on his 2014 debut semi-final run.
“I felt very comfortable out there,” said Nishikori. “I started very well, [right] from the first game. I saw that he wasn't playing his best, and he was missing - a lot of unforced errors. I saw a lot of opportunities today, so I tried to be aggressive. Even second set, I stayed really tough and played a good match today. It gives me a little confidence.”
The 26-year-old Nishikori settled quickly, but could not convert two break point opportunities in the first game. The Japanese star lost just five of his service points in the 52-minute opener, and broke Wawrinka in the fifth and seventh games. Wawrinka leads 4-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head.
Nishikori kept hitting his groundstrokes deep, ultimately hitting 19 winners to Wawrinka’s 31 unforced errors. Nishikori broke for a third time for a 3-2 advantage, then coolly closed out his fourth match win at the season finale.
Wawrinka, the oldest player in the field at 31 years of age, was subdued throughout and did not create any break point opportunities. He is now 45-17 on the season, which includes four titles – including the US Open (d. Djokovic).
"It was not a great match, compared to what I [know I] can do," said Wawrinka. "It wasn't a great day for myself. In general, I think he played well and put a lot of pressure from the beginning. I don't think I found anything on the court today. I was a little bit slow on everything. I was hesitating a lot with my game [and] my movement."