Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson of South Africa defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6(3) to win the biggest title of his career on Sunday at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, Austria.
The win clinched him a spot for the first time at the year-ending ATP Finals, leaving two spots open going into the final regular-season event of the year, the Paris Masters.
“It has been a huge goal of mine all year to make it to London. I have said that right from the beginning,” said Anderson. “To finally put my name there feels fantastic.”
He improved to 2-3 in finals this year after the 32-year-old won the inaugural New York Open in February. His fifth career title marks his first outside the ATP 250 level.
“It has been a long time coming,” he said. “Any time you make a final, you want to put the history behind you and it was always going to be a tough match. I was up against an unbelievable opponent in Kei and I really had to play some amazing tennis. I couldn’t be more pleased to have kept at it and finally broken through at this level.”
Nishikori is still in the running for a year-end championships spot, and lost his ninth consecutive final since winning at Memphis in 2016.
After a long first few games Anderson finally broke for a 3-1 lead.
“We were playing for 30 minutes and there had only been four games. It was really important [to get the break] and also be able to consolidate that and go up 4-1,” said Anderson. “There was still so much tennis to play from that moment but it was obviously a very important moment in the match.”
After closing out the first set, Anderson brought the second set to a tiebreak where his big serving made the difference.
Nishikori fell to 11-14 in career finals, also losing this year at Tokyo and Monte Carlo. Last year he was 0-2 in finals.
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