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Medvedev stuns Nishikori to win Japan Open

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev celebrates his win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the final of the Japan Open tennis championships in Tokyo on October 7, 2018 © AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI

TOKYO, Japan, Oct 7 Kei Nishikori’s hopes of a third Japan Open crown were dashed Sunday by Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev, who crushed the local hero 6-2, 6-4 to play party-pooper.

Medvedev punched well above his world ranking of 32 and overpowered third seed Nishikori in a one-sided Tokyo final, taking just 63 minutes to scoop his third career title.

Nishikori, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2014, had not dropped a set before running into the beefy Russian and came into the match as the overwhelming favourite.

But Medvedev snaffled an early break thanks to a wild backhand from Nishikori, who gift-wrapped the first set to his opponent with a tame double-fault.

A misfiring Nishikori, who won the last of his 11 career titles in Memphis two years ago, continued to struggle as his towering opponent grew in confidence.

Chasing a first tournament victory after recovering from a lengthy wrist injury, the world number 12 never really threatened Medvedev’s serve and went out in a flurry of unforced errors.

Medvedev completed the upset with a drilled forehand to join a eye-popping list of Japan winners that includes Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Ken Rosewall.

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