Sports

Kei is Japan's hero

Kei Nishikori ensured he will become the first Japanese player to make the top 10 of the ATP rankings after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez to make the Madrid Masters semi-finals.

Currently ranked 12th in the world, Nishikori will move into the top 10 when the latest rankings are released tomorrow after extending his winning streak to 13 matches.

The 24-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters in March before having to withdraw due to a groin problem and won his first tournament on clay on his return from injury at the Barcelona Open two weeks ago.

Nishikori was bothered by a back injury throughout the second set against Lopez, but was hopeful of being fit to face David Ferrer in the last four (this morning, Singapore time).

The winner will play world No 1. and defending champion Rafael Nadal, who easily beat unseeded fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista 6-4, 6-3 in the first semi-final yesterday.

- AFP.