Kei Nishikori keeps making history. Already the highest-ranked Asian-born player in the history of the ATP, the 24-year-old rose to career-high ranking of No. 6 after winning his fourth title of the season on home soil at the Japan Open. Nishikori is now 15-1 since the beginning of August, winning back-to-back titles in Kuala Lumpur and then Tokyo a week later. Welcomed home by a near-sellout crowd at Ariake Coliseum all week, Nishikori defeated Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in the Japan Open final on Sunday. China Open finalist Tomas Berdych dropped down a spot to No. 7.
But Nishikori wasn't the only player to achieve a new career-high this week. South Africa's Kevin Anderson is on the verge of the top 15 at No. 16, the nearly-unbeatable David Goffin is up to No. 27, and America's Steve Johnson, who made the quarterfinals in Tokyo, is up to No. 42.
The biggest jump in the top 100 came from Rafael Nadal's vanquisher in Beijing, Martin Klizan, who jumped 16 spots to No. 40. Benjamin Becker also rose 16 spots after a run to the Japan Open semifinal, up to No. 46. Croatia's Ivan Dodig had the biggest drop, falling 31 spots to No. 92 after failing to defend his semifinalist points in Tokyo.
But enough about rankings. At this point in the season it's all about the Race to London, the ATP's so-called qualification race for the World Tour Finals. With last week's results, Nishikori, who is bidding to become the first Asian to qualify for the year-end tournament, moved up to No. 5 in the race behind Stan Wawrinka. David Ferrer's opening round exit in Tokyo slipped him back three spots to No. 10 behind Andy Murray.
The battle for the last two qualifying spots is tight:
7. Tomas Berdych - 3,765
8. Milos Raonic - 3,740
9. Andy Murray - 3,565
10. David Ferrer - 3,535
11. Grigor Dimitrov - 3,405