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Nishikori slumps to Cilic loss

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 19-11-2016 skysports.com
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Kei Nishikori fell to an abject three-set defeat to Marin Cilic just 24 hours before facing Novak Djokovic in the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals. 

Nishikori had already qualified for the semi-finals and looked relaxed as he eased through the first set, but he then suffered a collapse and went on to lose 6-3 2-6 3-6.

Cilic's victory was the first of his career at the O2 Arena and the 200 ranking points it earned him mean he will end the year as the world No 6.

Shot of the match

Tennis doesn't get much more entertaining than this lob followed by a hot dog followed by a volleyed winner.

Cilic's reaction

"It feels great. I played really good today and it was a pleasure to get a great performance for the end of the week. I felt I played well during the week, but I was a little bit unfortunate in those first couple of matches."

Expert analysis

Greg Rusedski: "Cilic wanted to win a match here for the first time and getting to No 6 was huge for him. It's a career-high ranking, so there was a lot to play for and it's good to see from Cilic.

"It just shows you how motivated this guy is and I think Jonas Bjorkman is going to do a great job with him in the off-season and he is going to come back a better player."

Peter Fleming: "Nishikori looked a little jaded tonight. Against Djokovic tomorrow night, he is going to have to run equally as much. But again, if he comes out, adrenaline flowing, you never know."

The match

Nishikori might have been forgiven for playing within himself and saving energy against Cilic, but he made a flying start and broke in just the third game.

He continued to dominate points with his movement and ground strokes and sealed the opening set by breaking again in the final game.

However, a combination of Cilic finding his range and Nishikori badly losing his turned the match on its head and back-to-back breaks by the Croatian paved the way for levelling the match at one set apiece.

Nishikori looked to have recomposed himself in the third, but he was broken after suffering a relapse in the fifth game and dropped serve again in the final game of what turned out to be chastening match.

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