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Nishikori Saves 4 M.P., Faces Federer Next

Miami, U.S.A.

Nishikori© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori saved four match points to beat David Ferrer.

Kei Nishikori saved four match points in a dramatic deciding set tie-break against David Ferrer on Tuesday at the Sony Open Tennis, and next meets World No. 5 Roger Federer, who enjoyed a routine win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the Round of 16.

Nishikori, the No. 20 seed, defeated fourth seed and last year’s runner-up Ferrer 7-6(7), 2-6, 7-6(9) in three hours and six minutes. It was his 10th win over a member of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

"He had obviously a very difficult match with Ferrer, but a great one which everybody watched in the locker room and the player restaurant," said Federer. "Kei did a good job getting it done at the end.

"Clearly I think it's an advantage at this point now that I had a quick match today and he had a really brutal match against Ferrer. Can I take advantage of it? Can he recover quickly? We will see tomorrow. But I'm sure we will see him out on the court, and he will give it everything he has. He always has." 

Nishikori hit 32 winners and converted five of his 13 break point opportunities to beat Ferrer for the first time since the London 2012 Olympics, which was held at Wimbledon. Ferrer committed 40 unforced errors, 12 fewer than Nishikori.

Ferrer finished runner-up to Andy Murray in last year’s Miami final. The 31-year-old Spaniard dropped to a 19-6 match record on the season. Nishikori lifted his fourth ATP World Tour title at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships (d. Karlovic) in February.

The 24-year-old Nishikori will be making his first quarter-final appearance at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 hard-court tournament, and the 32-year-old Federer his ninth.

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Federer scored his most decisive victory over World No. 9 Gasquet in their 14th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. The Swiss raced through the opening set in 25 minutes, and broke open a 4-2 lead in the second. He clinched the 6-1, 6-2 win in 49 minutes with another break of serve, improving to a 12-2 record against the Frenchman.

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"Things went well out on the court today," he said. "I served well. I made my returns I had to and stayed aggressive, so I didn't let him just make errors. I forced him to do stuff. It was a good match for me."

The Swiss has dropped just 18 points on serve through his first three matches in Miami, including eight against Gasquet, and has faced only one break point.

Federer, who is chasing his third Sony Open Tennis title, returned to the Top 5 of the Emirates ATP Rankings last Monday after his runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open.

Federer and Nishikori have split their two previous meetings. Federer won in the 2011 Basel final, and Nishikori rallied for a three-set win on clay last year in Madrid.

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