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Summary

  1. Kei Nishikori beats David Ferrer 4-6 6-4 6-1
  2. Ferrer replaces injured Raonic before match
  3. Murray must beat Federer in straight sets for semi-final place
  4. Federer confirmed into semi-finals
  5. World Tour Finals at O2, London
  6. Relieve action via Live Coverage tab

Live Reporting

By Sam Sheringham

All times stated are UK

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Right folks, I'm heading off to dream about what I could do with $240,000, but I'll be back with all the build-up to Murray against Federer from 19:30 GMT. I trust you'll be joining me?

Good. It's a date.

Kei Nishikori & David Ferrer
Getty Images

I doubt Ferrer will dwell too long on his disappointment however. He'll head off for an end of season holiday with $240,000 in his back pocket. Stick it all on red?

Just looking at the stats and it was a tale of missed opportunities for Ferrer. Both players had nine break points in the match, with Nishikori taking five and Ferrer only two.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at the O2 Arena in London

"The O2 crowd finally got three sets, and more than that they got 41 winners and a performance that will demonstrate to those not too familiar with Nishikori just why he is already among the game's elite. The odds are that he will face Djokovic in the semi-finals, which might be one of the few match-ups that would worry the Serb after his US Open semi-final defeat. For now, the 40 Japanese journalists who took accreditation for the first time might need to call their hotels ahead of the weekend."

Kei Nishikori
Getty Images

"Almost perfect" hardly does it justice. As Andrew Castle hinted, Kei Nishikori looked a Grand Slam champion in the making in that third set. He seems to have the work ethic and style of Michael Chang, but with an extra dose of power on both sides. A little more work on the serve and we could be looking at a new superstar of the game.

Kei Nishikori: "The third set was almost perfect. I served well and everything worked well in the final set. We've played each other four times this year and always three sets."

On the late change in opponent after Milos Raonic pulled out injured, Nishikori added: "It was really difficult to make this adjustment - they told me one hour before the match, it was tough to change tactics but I'd prepared well and I'm happy to win today."

Andrew Castle

BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

"Nishikori will be an all-court threat for years to come. He is deadly on a clay court too. At his first World Tour Finals he has won two of his three group matches. Very impressive indeed."

Tim Henman

Former British number one on BBC Two

"I think it's fitting that Nishikori went through. Ferrer came in as a reserve and put in a great performance. He can't have had much notice but the way these guys move, it was really nip and tuck in first two sets. When Nishikori serves consistently he can dictate the points from the back of the court."

Murray maths

That result ensures Roger Federer's place in the semi-finals. Nishikori has one foot in the last four, but could still go out if Murray wins tonight. The Scot must beat Federer in straight sets to go through. Any other outcome and the British number one is out. A single set for Federer means Nishikori is through in place of Murray.

Game, set and match Nishikori

Nishikori 4-6 6-4 6-1 Ferrer

Nishikori
Getty Images

It's all over. Nishikori breaks again and takes the final game to 30 when Ferrer goes long.

Nishikori 4-6 6-4 5-1 Ferrer*

Ferrer still looks pumped for this one. And with reason. He knows he still has a chance on the inconsistent Nishikori serve. A forehand blast is too hot for Nishikori to handle and he nets to give his opponent two break points. They are both saved, followed by two more. And Nishikori finishes off the game with another sumptuous sliced forehand dropshot winner.

Tim Henman

Former British number one on BBC Two

"You can hear and see that David Ferrer still thinks he's got a chance of getting back into this game against Nishikori's serve."

*Nishikori 4-6 6-4 4-1 Ferrer

David Ferrer
AFP

Nishikori looks like one heck of a frontrunner. He's gone through all the gears and is now officially in overdrive. To his credit, Ferrer claws back from 0-30 to 30-30 and then from 30-40 to deuce. Two good serves later, he has his first game on the board in the third set.

Vassos Alexander

BBC Sport commentator

"Nishikori's taking this deciding set by the scruff of the neck and he's not letting go."

Nishikori 4-6 6-4 4-0 Ferrer*

Not long left now, it seems. Nishikori serves out to love and is now only two games away from victory.

Miles Maclagan

Former coach to Andy Murray and Laura Robson on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

"Kei Nishikori is on a par with what we saw from Djokovic last night in terms of shot-making. Ferrer just doesn't have those two or three extra gears. He's just exploding into those forehands."

*Nishikori 4-6 6-4 3-0 Ferrer

Kei Nishikori
Getty Images

This match is only heading in one direction now. Ferrer smacks his racquet on the ground in frustration after double faulting to go 0-30 behind and heads to the net for a new one. Nishikori misses a sitter but makes amends with a backhand winner for two break points. He misses the first one by a whisker but hits the slot with a crosscourt backhand to round off the double-break.

Nishikori 4-6 6-4 2-0 Ferrer*

Brilliant from Nishikori now. He's keeping the points short and really starting to stick the knife in. At 40-15, however, he plays a rare loose shot and misses a forehand by some distance. It matters not as Nishikori closes out a 2-0 lead.

*Nishikori 4-6 6-4 1-0 Ferrer

The boys in the Beeb box know their stuff you know. Nishikori dictates from the first point, and breaks at the first opportunity when a powerful return rushes Ferrer into a backhand, that drifts beyond the baseline.

Who's your money on then? Andrew Castle is backing Nishikori. Tim Henman, eventually, agrees. Here we go, with Ferrer serving.

Wrist risk

Slight delay as Nishikori leaves the court. He re-emerges, shaking out his right wrist slightly.

A close-up of Nishikori during the last game showed him grimace and after a shot. He received medical treatment on the same issue last time out. Could that start to become a problem as this game enters a deciding set?

Nishikori gets treatment on his right wrist against Roger Federer in his previous match
AFP
Nishikori gets treatment on his right wrist against Roger Federer in his previous match

Game and second set Nishikori

Nishikori 4-6 6-4 Ferrer*

Nishikori lands a pair of big serves then hoists a pinpoint lob over his opponent to open up two set points. A clean backhand winner ensures we are going to a deciding set for the first time in the tournament.

Miles Maclagan

Former coach to Andy Murray and Laura Robson on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Nishikori
EPA

"If it does go to a third set, Nishikori's record this year is something like 15 wins to two losses. Ferrer is extremely fit and you'd think if it got down to the third set he'd be able to match him - but so far between these two this year, Nishikori has beaten him every time."

*Nishikori 4-6 5-4 Ferrer

Ferrer attacks the net and pulls of a crisp backhand volley to go 40-15 up. Another big serve gets him the game. This is high quality tennis from both players, with very few unforced errors.

Henman hopes Tour Finals stay at O2

Tim Henman

Former British number one on BBC Two

"There's this debate going about whether these championships move on from London when the current contract ends. I hope not. They get incredible crowds here and it is a fantastic season-ending tournament."

Nishikori 4-6 5-3 Ferrer*

Ferrer plays one of his best shots of the match to pass Nishikori at the net, but it proves to be his only point of the game as the Japanese moves to within one game of the set.

Andrew Castle

BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

"We're starting to talk about a third set here. We haven't seen a deciding set in the whole tournament so far - no match has gone to the best of three - amazing."

*Nishikori 4-6 4-3 Ferrer

Just like his opponent, the 32-year-old Ferrer seems to be finding his service rhythm when it matters.. He recovers from 15-30 when Nishokori mis-times a couple of groundstrokes.

Nishikori 4-6 4-2 Ferrer*

Nishikori
Getty Images

Nishikori is landing a lot more first serves now. His second set percentage is over 70, whereas he was in the low 50s in the first set. Two big serves finish off a service hold to 15.

*Nishikori 4-6 3-2 Ferrer

Nishikori takes a forehand early for a winner to earn a deuce on the Ferrer serve. The Spaniard holds on to keep in touch in this second set.

Nishikori 4-6 3-1 Ferrer*

Ferrer finds the sweet spot to lace a backhand down the line and put pressure on the Nishikori serve at 15-30. The Japanese keeps his cool and keep his break of serve intact.

It's a big "if" I know, but if these two had big serves they'd be right up there with the likes of Federer and Nadal. I hesitate to write Djokovic too, because having watched him last night, I'm convinced he's is on another planet right now.

*Nishikori 4-6 2-1 Ferrer

Nishikori
Getty Images

Ferrer is using the whole court to put Nishikori through his paces. Another love game is completed when the Japanese goes long.

Nishikori 4-6 2-0 Ferrer*

Nishikori shows his feathery touch once again to land the perfect drop shot and holds serve to love. Good start to the second set for the world number five.

Group B permutations #bbctennis

Perumtations
BBC Sport

*Nishikori 4-6 1-0 Ferrer

Ferrer takes his eye off the ball and is soon three break points down. Two are saved, but Nishikori snaffles the third to seize the early running in the second set.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at the O2 Arena in London

"Cries of "Vamos!" have been in unusually short supply at the O2 this week in the absence of Nadal and, until now, Ferrer but Spanish voices can be heard now as their man takes control. There might be a few Swiss whoops around too as that set means Federer is through to the semis. I think."

Game and first set Ferrer

Nishikori 4-6 Ferrer

Oh dear, looks like we put the mockers on Nishikori. He plays a howler of a game to lose the first set. He misses a chance to challenge that would have won his a point, then double fault to go 15-40 down. A smash into the net gives Ferrer the set.

Chris White, you may have a point. He certainly has great grace around the court. But he'll have to take one of those hands off his backhand to get anywhere near Federer's beauty to me.

Here he is, serving to stay in the set.

Tim Henman

Former British number one on BBC Two

David Ferrer
Reuters

"Ferrer doesn't play the board, just the ball. What I mean by that is that you'd never know whether he's a break up or a break down. He doesn't ever get despondent, he's just relentless. This is him day in, day out - whether on the practice court or match court, he fights for every ball."

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Chris White: Dare I say it? Nishikori the most beautiful player since Federer?