Victory rouses Japan

Japan was in celebratory mood yesterday when the nation awoke to the news that Kei Nishikori had become the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

After Nishikori's historic victory over the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals in New York in the early hours of the morning local time, public broadcaster NHK hailed it as "an unprecedented achievement for Japan".

The Nikkei Shimbun economic newspaper even updated its online homepage to carry news of the triumph.

Many bleary-eyed fanatics had to watch live Internet streams of the match, with the action available only on television via a satellite subscription network.

TV commentators screamed themselves hoarse, yelling "Nishikori through to the final!", as the 24-year-old dropped his racket after clinching match point.

In Nishikori's hometown of Matsue in rural Shimane prefecture, some 300 fans cheered on their idol while watching on a giant screen. - AFP.