10/7/12 2:02 PM | Johan Lindahl
Tee-totalling Kei Nishikori was prepared for at least a sip of sake after becoming the first home player to win the Japan Open as he beat Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-0 in the Tokyo final.
The world No. 15 was the first local to win the title in its four-decade history.
In addition to his prize money, Nishikori was awarded a year's supply of the sponsor Corona's beer - a beverage which he does not even touch. "I don't know what I'm going to do with this beer, I don't even like beer," the 22-year-old confessed.
Nishikori won the first set against sixth seed Raonic in a tiebreaker, dropped the second as the North American (who put out top seeded holder Andy Murray in the semifinals) stormed back. But in the third, Nishikori ran the table despite the Canadian saving a pair of match points before falling on a third.
"I thought the gods were against me at this event in the past," said the winner. "But to win the title is amazing. I'm overwhelmed. It was an incredible feeling to win a final at home. I never dreamed it would end like this, it's a great day."
Nishikori has little time to pause in celebration, with a Shanghai semi to defend this week and a final later on in Basel, where he lost to Roger Federer last autumn in a surprise showing.
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