Japan’s Kei Nishikori beat Spain’s Rafael Nadal for Rio Olympic bronze medal in the playoff concluded today.
It was the first tennis medal for Japan in 96 years.
Nishikori won in three tight sets, 6-2 6-7 6-3 to clinch the medal. Nadal whose gold medal hope was dashed Saturday by Argentine Juan del Potro, will now go back to Mallorca empty-handed.
The bronze was a big improvement for the Japanese. He was knocked out in the first round in Beijing Olympics in 2008. In London in 2012, he reached the quarter-finals, again, the highest level ever attained by any Asian country.
Currently ranked world No. 7 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, he is the only male Japanese tennis player ever to be ranked inside the top 10 in ATP Singles Ranking.
He began playing tennis at the age of five and qualified for his first ATP main draw event at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles at the age of 17.
Nishikori was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2008.
He has won 11 singles titles and was runner-up at the 2014 US Open,making him the first-ever male player from an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final. He also became the first man from Asia to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals and reached the semi-finals in 2014. He first reached his career-high singles ranking of world No. 4 in March 2015.
Bio source: Wikipedia