The eight-player singles field for the 2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is set. Japan’s Kei Nishikori makes history by becoming the first Asian player to qualify for the season finale in singles after he beat David Ferrer in the BNP Paribas Masters quarter-finals. As a result of Nishikori’s victory, Milos Raonic, who ousted Roger Federer in the Paris quarters, also qualified for the first time.
Raonic is the first Canadian player to qualify for the season finale in singles. Nishikori and Raonic join two-time defending champion and 2008 titlist Novak Djokovic, six-time former winner Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic at The O2 in London from 9-16 November. Spain’s Rafael Nadal also qualified, but was forced to withdraw as he will undergo appendix surgery next week.
Nishikori broke into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time on 12 May, becoming the first Asian player to rank among the elite since Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan on 29 March 2004. Coached by Michael Chang, who qualified for the season finale on seven occasions in his career, Nishikori beat three Top 10 players – Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic – en route to becoming the first Asian man to contest a Grand Slam championship final at the US Open in September. During a career-best 2014 campaign, Nishikori has amassed a 52-11 match record and lifted four ATP World Tour trophies at the US National Indoor Tennis Championships (Memphis), Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo).
He also finished runner-up in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Mutua Madrid Open. Raonic has become the first player born in the 1990s to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals. The 23-year old Canadian, who has reached 13 tour-level quarter-finals or better in a career-best season, lifted one title at het Citi Open in Washington, where he beat Vasek Pospisil in the first all-Canadian final in the Open era.
He also finished runner-up to Nishikori at the Japan Open and reached two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-finals in Rome and Cincinnati. He reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon to boot. This year, Raonic has struck more than 1000 aces in a season for the second time (also in 2012).