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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nishikori targets top 3 ranking for next year

Nishikori targets top 3 ranking for next year

November 22, 2016 17:00 IST

Kei Nishikori returns a shot during the semi-final match against Stan Wawrinka on Day 12 of the 2016 US Open

IMAGE: Kei Nishikori returns a shot during the semi-final match against Stan Wawrinka on Day 12 of the 2016 US Open. Photograph: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Kei Nishikori has set his sights on making a grand slam breakthrough in 2017 after the Japanese world number five concluded a successful season in which he claimed one ATP Tour title, an Olympic medal and recorded a career-high 58 wins.

"A year that I won most matches does carry some significance but what is important is how much I can win at big tournaments," the 2014 US Open runner-up was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

"Result-wise this has been my best year. I've played well against the top-10 players and have been winning against the likes of (Rafael) Nadal and (Andy) Murray, who I couldn't beat before.

"I'm making fewer mistakes as I get older. I hope to keep building, bit-by-bit."

Nishikori started the campaign by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and followed that up by winning his only title of the year at the Memphis Open.

Kei Nishikori returns a shot during his quarter-final match against Andy Murray at the 2016 US Open

IMAGE: Kei Nishikori returns a shot during his quarter-final match against Andy Murray at the 2016 US Open. Photograph: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

His form faltered slightly with fourth round defeats at the French Open and Wimbledon, before he rediscovered his touch to win bronze at the Rio Olympics and reached the semi-finals of the US Open, losing to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka.

Nishikori was also a losing finalist at the Miami Open in April and Rogers Cup in July before his season ended with a defeat to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Saturday.

The 26-year-old remains hopeful he can climb up to number three in the world rankings, one better than his career-high.

"I'm confident I have the ability to challenge for world number three and four," he added.

"I need to be more cautious while determining which points in the match I have to focus and how I can win break points in a more assured manner."

Source:
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