Kei Nishikori (born December 29, 1989 in Shimane, Japan) is a Japanese male tennis player.
Nishikori began playing tennis at the age of five and on July 17, 2007 he qualified for his first ATP main draw event at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles, California at the age of 17. Though he lost in the first round, to Wesley Moodie, he emerged as a future star to watch on the ATP Tour. He is represented by IMG.
Kei won the 2007 Luxilon Cup held at the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open by defeating Michael McClune. Nishikori won the 2004 title at the Riad 21 Tournament in Rabat, Morocco and was a quarterfinalist at the 2006 Junior French Open. He partnered with Emiliano Massa of Argentina to win the 2006 Junior French Open.
Nishikori qualified and won the title at the ITF Futures event in Mazatlan, Mexico. He began the year by receiving a wildcard to the Kyoto Challenger in Kyoto, Japan.
A finalist in two USTA Pro Circuit events, Nishikori lost to Donald Young in Little Rock, Arkansas and Alex Bogomolov, Jr. in Carson, California. He partnered with Donald Young to win the doubles title at Little Rock, Arkansas. He paired with triple-French Open champion, Gustavo Kuerten at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida where they lost in the first round. Nishikori served as a hitting partner for Roger Federer at Wimbledon. After his ATP main draw debut in Los Angeles, he qualified for the Indianapolis Tennis Championships in July 2007. He beat Alejandro Falla in the first round 6-4 6-3 to record his first ATP main draw win. He followed that up with a 3-set win over Michael Berrer, the eliminator of 7th seed Robby Ginepri, to advance to his first ever ATP quarterfinal. He lost to Dmitry Tursunov but Nishikori became the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals at Indianapolis since Boris Becker, who went on to reach the semifinals, in 1985. In his third career ATP event, Nishikori defeated Teimuraz Gabashvili in the first round in Washington, DC before falling to Julien Benneteau in the second. Attempted to qualify for the ATP Masters Series Canada and for his first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open. Qualified for the ATP event in Beijing and lost in the first round to Ivan Ljubicic. Nishikori received a wildcard to the ATP event in Tokyo, Japan where he lost in the first round to Zack Fleishman. He participated in the draw ceremony in Tokyo and received the Tokyo Sports Writers Club award. Nishikori represented Japan at the Asian Hopman Cup 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Nishikori started the year by reaching the semifinals of the Miami challenger. He entered the Delray Beach tournament as a qualifier ranked 244. He gained entrance to the main draw by defeating Nicolas Todero and Alex Bogomolov Jr. In the first round, he defeated Florian Mayer due to a retirement in the second set. In the second round, Kei defeated Amer Delic, another qualifier. In the quarterfinals he won against Bobby Reynolds. In the semis he upset Sam Querrey. In the final, Nishikori upset number one seed James Blake in three sets to become the first Japanese man in nearly 16 years to win an ATP event.
He lost in the first round of the Miami Masters to the Spanish player Albert Montañés. He faced James Blake again, this time at the River Oaks International tournament in Houston, Texas in the first round but Kei lost 6-4, 6-4. He went out in the third round of the 2008 Queen's Club Championships against Rafael Nadal on 12 June 2008. The final score was 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to Rafael Nadal, who won the match in just over two hours. Despite facing the world number two, Nishikori played well in the match, and showed promise. His performance, however, faded in the final set as fatigue set in against Nadal's impressive level of fitness. His first Grand Slam appearance at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships on 23 June 2008 ended in a first round forfeiture to French player Marc Gicquel. Suffering from an abdominal muscle strain, Nishikori retired after the second set after winning the first set by 6-4, but losing the second by 5-7. In August he entered the Beijing Olympics on an wildcard place given by the International Tennis Federation. There he lost in the first round to Rainer Schüttler of Germany.
Nishikori made his debut in the US Open defeating 29th seeded Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the first round. He cruised to the third round after downing Croatian Roko Karanusic. On 30 August 2008 he became the first Japanese player to reach the Round of 16 at the US Open in 71 years, when he beat 4th seed David Ferrer in five sets 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5. He lost his chance to compete in the quarter-finals when he was beaten by 17th seed Juan Martín del Potro in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
In the Japan Open Tennis Championships he made it to the Round of 16 before losing to Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2.
Nishikori was handed a wildcard for the Stockholm Open, where he made it to his second ATP level semifinal of the year, despite playing with a knee injury. He received a walkover in his quarterfinal against Mario Ancic, who had to withdraw due to illness. In the semifinal he was beaten by fourth seed Robin Söderling 6-1 6-0.