Japan's Nishikori knocks Federer out of Madrid
Japanese player Kei Nishikori returns the ball to Swiss player Roger Federer during their men's singles third round tennis match at the Madrid Masters at the Magic Box (Caja Magica) sports complex in Madrid on May 9, 2013.
"He's my idol. Beating him was one of my career objectives," said Nishikori, who lost his only previous clash against Federer in straight sets in Basel in 2011.
"It's fantastic that this happened on a clay court. As you know, it's not my best surface."
Federer, who returned to the tour in the Spanish capital after a two-month layoff, was broken in the fifth game of the first set as Nishikori went onto seal it comfortably 6-4.
The Swiss seemed to have found his rhythm in the second as a double break saw him take the set 6-1, but Nishikori dominated the third set as he broke to go 2-1 in front and then again in the final game to move into the quarter-finals.
Nishikori will face Spain's Pablo Andujar for a place in the semi-finals.
The Japanese hadn't been beyond the last-16 of any tournament since winning in Memphis back in February, but he showed no sign of nerves throughout against the three-time champion in Madrid.
"I'm disappointed with my match. Today Nishikori played better and the best man won," said Federer.
Nishikori made the breakthrough in the first set with Federer serving at 2-2 to move ahead and was comfortable on serve himself for the remainder of the set as he closed it out without even facing a break point.
Federer was more like his usual self in the second as he upped his consistency and depth to race through it 6-1.
However, the tide turned again at the beginning of the third as Nishikori forced two break points at 1-1 and was gifted the break when Federer dragged wide with a regulation midcourt forehand.
The 23-year-old was then untroubled on his own serve as he held to 15 and love in his next two service games.
And Nishikori secured his first ever win over Federer when he broke again when Swiss fired long in the next game.