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Nishikori Stuns Federer In Madrid 3rd Rd

Madrid, Spain

Nishikori, Federer© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori recorded one of the biggest wins of his career over Roger Federer.

The young guns are shaking it up in Madrid. Two days after World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was felled by Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori stunned defending champion Roger Federer 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Thursday in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

"He was my idol. Actually, to beat him, that was one of my goals for my tennis career," said Nishikori. "It happens on clay and it's amazing. It's not really my favourite surface."

The 23-year-old Nishikori recorded one of the biggest wins of his career as he held his nerve to close out victory in one hour and 35 minutes. After a slow start, Federer looked to have taken control of the pair’s second meeting when he stormed through the second set. Nishikori survived tight moments on serve early in the third set, though, before breaking Federer in the fourth game and again in the eighth game.

"I wasn't really expecting this," said Nishikori. "6-2 in the third, that's not easy against him. I played well. I was a little bit tight of course, but he didn't make many first serves in the third set and I was able to attack his second. I was even more aggressive in the third set. I'm pretty happy the way I played."

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It was Nishikori’s eighth Top 10 win and first since beating No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the 2012 Tokyo quarter-finals. Two years ago, the right-hander knocked out World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Basel semi-finals before losing to Federer in the final.

Nishikori will bid to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final when he takes on Spanish wild card Pablo Andujar. Andujar was level at 5-5 in the first set with Daniel Gimeno-Traver when his countryman was forced to retire with a leg abductor injury. Nishikori beat Andujar two years ago in Winston-Salem in their one previous meeting.

The 31-year-old Federer was playing his first tournament in eight weeks, since losing to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Swiss had won the Madrid title for the third time in 2012 with victory over Tomas Berdych. He suffered his earliest defeat in 10 appearances in the Spanish capital. The Basel native will look to rebuild his clay-court campaign at next week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

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