Nishikori raises Asian flag with appearance in final

Sat Sep 6, 2014 7:50pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A pioneering Kei Nishikori blazed a new trail for Japanese tennis with a shock win over world number one Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open on Saturday, becoming the first man from Asia to book a place in a grand slam final.

Already one of tennis's top 10 earners according to, the 24-year-old Japanese battler can expect to soar even higher up both world and sponsorship rankings following a sensational march into the Flushing Meadows final that included upset wins over three higher seeds.

"I hope it is big news in Japan," said Nishikori after his stunning 6-4 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3 win over the top seed. "I feel the support from Japan even from the TV even though it’s 4 o’clock in the morning, but I hope a lot of people watching.

"I know it is a tough time. It is completely opposite side (of the world)."

But already the messages were rolling in, he said.

"I got like 20 message already, even if it's 4:00 a.m. Very happy to make another history.

"I hope I can win and to make another history."

Djokovic, who helped put tennis on the map in his native Serbia with his seven grand slam wins, believes Nishikori's appearance in Monday's final could have a similar impact in Japan.   Continued...

Sep 6, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Kei Nishikori (JPN) celebrates recording match point in his match against Novak Djokovic (SRB) on day thirteen of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports