LONDON Ė The victory of Japanís Kei Nishikori over Roger Federer 7-6 (4), 6-3 on the first day of the Nitto ATP Finals shook the walls of Londonís O2 Arena, where the Swiss aspires to win the 100th title of his career, but had to leave head down because even if he succeeds he will not be able to push Rafael Nadal from the number two spot in the world at the end of the year.
Nishikori soured the day of 37-year-old Roger Federer, record man of this tournament, with 10 finals played, and six titles achieved, 14 arrivals to the semifinals in 16 previous appearances, totaling 55 victories, who succumbed in a poor performance in one hour and 27 minutes.
Federer perhaps paid the price of playing three tournaments in four weeks. He won the title in Basel for the ninth time, reached the Paris semifinals and had only a few days of rest before starting in the O2 Arena near the Thames.
His magnificent one-handed backhand vanished this time, with a total of 18 unforced errors. His serve was broken by Nishikori twice, and his legs did not respond when the Japanese player accelerated the exchanges, especially in the tiebreaker, in which the Japanese player came to be ahead with 6-1.
The defeat of Federer complicates the aspirations of the Swiss to achieve the semifinals, but he is not eliminated. On Tuesday, he will play against Austrian Dominic Thiem, who in the same group fell against South African Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 7-6 (10).