London: Roger Federer suffered a shock straight-sets defeat to Kei Nishikori at the ATP Finals, severely denting his bid for the 100th title of his illustrious career.
The Swiss, who has won the season-ending event a record six times, produced an uncharacteristically error-prone and fractious display in the round-robin match as the Japanese seventh seed prevailed 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.
The result means Federer is now in danger of failing to qualify for the semi-finals for just the second time in 16 appearances at the event.
“I felt we both struggled, you know, throughout the first set,” he said.
“You could tell it was sort of a first round. I had my chances maybe a bit more than he did.
“Then I started to feel better in the second set. I think we both did. The level went up. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep the lead that I got early. That was important, I think, at the end. That was the key of the match.”
Federer, 37, has beaten Nishikori in Shanghai and Paris in recent weeks but despite having the backing of a full house at the O2 Arena, he never really settled into a groove.