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October 08, 2012

Hometown Hero: Kei Nishikori Wins in Tokyo


With his three set triumph over Canadian, Milos Raonic, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-0 to win the Japan Open in Tokyo, twenty-two year old, Kei Nishikori, further elevated his star status in Japan.  Nishikori became the first Japanese player to win the title in the forty-one year

history of the event.  Previously, Nishikori had never progressed beyond the third round in Tokyo.  The title was his second on the ATP Tour, but first since 2008.  Nishikori also reached a career-high ranking of 15th this summer.

At the age of fourteen, Kei left Japan as part of a team of promising juniors sponsored by the CEO of Sony to train at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Florida.  His success on Tour has made him a huge star in Japan and very wealthy before he even cracked the top twenty in the ATP rankings.  Nishikori has battled injuries since he joined the Tour including an elbow injury which sidelined him for many months a couple years ago.  Nishikori has a powerful forehand, moves well and has the talent to be a top ten player, but he will not only need to be consistent, but also stay healthy if he wants to fully realize his potential.  Nishikori, who reached the quarters at the 2012 Australian Open, will also face even higher expectations from the tennis fans in Japan who are eager for a superstar.   

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