Jordan Thompson says he will still draw plenty of positives from his Brisbane International tennis campaign despite a comprehensive quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori.
Japanese world No.5 Nishikori needed just over an hour on Friday to sweep aside Thompson with a commanding 6-1 6-1 victory on Pat Rafter Arena, extinguishing Australia’s last hope at the tournament.
Nishikori will face Stan Wawrinka, who had earlier beaten unseeded Brit Kyle Edmund, for a spot in Sunday’s decider.
Sydney-based Thompson had become a fan favourite at the Queensland Tennis Centre after his stunning first-round upset of Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer but never looked a chance against a determined Nishikori.
“Maybe, I came out a little bit slow. But he was playing pretty bloody well from the start, and he continued to play that way,” he told reporters.
“That’s why he’s a top-five player.
“He didn’t let up at all. I couldn’t really dictate play. He was just hitting it too big for me on the day.
“(But) it’s positive. It’s the first week of 2017 and I made a quarter-final here in Brisbane.
“We’re still in the doubles. (I’m) getting matches under my belt, as well. It’s definitely a positive week.”
Thompson, the world No.79, has assured qualification for the Australian Open and also has a wildcard for next week’s Sydney International.
Wawrinka survived an early scare in his quarter-final, losing the first-set tiebreaker but recovering to win 6-7 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 against Edmund.
Edmund had the better of the opening exchanges but was unable to keep that level of intensity for the full match.
Wawrinka slammed down 11 aces to two and looked in control after breaking Edmund’s serve to open the second set.
The 31-year-old, with a 4-3 head-to-head advantage over Nishikori, lost their most-recent meeting in the ATP World Tour Finals.
“We played each other a few times already last few months, so it’s going to be interesting to see,” Wawrinka said.
“We practised here this week. I’m sure it’s going to be a good match.”