Kevin Anderson vs Kei Nishikori in Vienna final

Ruben Holloway
October 31, 2018

His fifth career title marks his first outside the ATP 250 level.

Kei Nishikori ended Dominic Thiem's hopes of a home win at the Vienna Open to boost his ATP Finals chances, while Roger Federer stumbled into the Swiss Indoors Basel semis.

The eighth-ranked Anderson defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6 (3), handing his opponent his ninth straight defeat in a final.

Japan's Kei Nishikori reacts after winning his match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan during their semifinal match at the Erste Bank Open tenni

The fifth-seeded Nishikori reached his third final of 2018 after beating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals.

Nishikori still leads Anderson 4-3 in their head-to-head statistics, though he lost both of their matches this year.

Now in ninth place in the race for the ATP Finals, a win would move Nishikori closer to a starting berth for the eight-man event in London next month.

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"It's fantastic. It's been a huge goal of mine all year", Anderson said after lifting the trophy.

A tight second set went to a tiebreak with Anderson landing his 13th ace of the match to win his landmark title. The Spaniard raised his level in the second set but the South African maintained an excellent 16-5 record in 3-set matches and claimed the seventh win in the last ten matches against lefty players.

The 32-year-old is the first South African to reach the ATP Finals in 23 years and follows in the footsteps of compatriot Wayne Ferreira who achieved the feat in 1995.

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Kukushkin battled hard in the Austrian capital, but was broken when serving to stay in the first set and Nishikori maintained the momentum by breaking again at the start of the second.

He clinched on his fourth chance when Medvedev netted from the baseline.

Nishikori has a 4-2 record against Anderson from six previous meetings, including a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (4) win in NY in February.

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