NEW DELHI:India take on Japan in a Davis Cup tie this April and that is why they may want to keep an eye on Kei Nishikori. The 18-year-old has become the first Japanese to win an ATP event in nearly 16 years.
Nishikori, ranked 244th in the world and playing in his first ATP final, claimed his maiden career crown on Sunday by beating top seed James Blake 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 at the Delray Beach International.
Prior to Delray Beach, Nishikori had played in just five ATP events, posting a 3-5 record in 2007. This season he had been battling to find his form on the Challenger development circuit.
While Japan has struggled to produce top-quality men's players, it has seen far more success with its women, led by veteran Ai Sugiyama who has won six WTA singles titles and 34 doubles titles.