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Nishikori To Break Into Top 10

Madrid, Spain

Nishikori© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori reaches his third Masters 1000 semi-final.

Kei Nishikori will break into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings next Monday, after defeating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez on Friday night in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals.

The 24 year old will be the first Japanese player to rank inside the Top 10 and the first Asian player since Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan on 29 March 2004. Nishikori, who began the week at No. 12, had previously reached a No. 11 Emirates ATP Ranking on 17 June 2013.

"It was a big goal for me to get in Top 10," said Nishikori. "I have to keep playing better tennis and keep this ranking.

"I was trying to be really aggressive because I know his game has a lot of slice and I have an advantage with my strokes. I was concentrating on the important points and I finished well today."

Watch Quarter-final Highlights

Nishikori prevented a historic semi-final line-up of four Spaniards for the first time in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 history as he beat Lopez 6-4, 6-4. The 10th seed saved all three break points he faced and capitalised on two of his nine opportunities, closing the match after one hour and 30 minutes.

The recent Barcelona champion extended his winning streak in improving to a perfect 9-0 mark on clay this season.

For a place in his second straight clay-court final and first at the Masters 1000 level, Nishikori will face World No. 5 David Ferrer. The two have split their previous six meetings, and will be going head-to-head for the first time on clay.

Watch Nishikori Post-Match Interview

Nishikori previously reached the Masters 1000 semi-finals at the 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Murray) and earlier this year at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami (w/o vs. Djokovic).

Lopez, who fell in the Madrid quarter-finals for a fourth time, was looking to join countrymen Rafael Nadal, Ferrer and Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals. 

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