Kei Nishikori gave himself a glimmer of hope of reaching the next round of the ATP World Tour Finals when he beat Tomas Berdych in three sets in London on Tuesday.
The Japanese had suffered a 6-1, 6-1, loss to Novak Djokovic (victor of the last three tournaments) in his first match in the Stan Smith group on Sunday.
Tuesday’s win means he could still advance to the semi-finals if he can beat six-time champion Roger Federer in his final group stage match on Thursday, preferably in straight sets.
The world number eight needed two hours and 23 minutes to secure the 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 victory over the Czech Republic’s Berdych.
Nishikori and Berdych battled for 63 minutes in the first set; with the victories going to serve in all but the sixth game, where Nishikori was able to break.
The second set started as the first had finished; with a break and a hold handing Nishikori a 2-0 lead. However, Berdych was able to fight back and break back in the fourth and sixth games for a comfortable win.
The deciding set was as tight as the first, with the decisive moment coming in the eighth game when Nishikori made his third breakpoint of the count to open a lead. He manage to hold his serve in the final game to see out victory.