Kei Nishikori was in sparkling form as he romped to a convincing 6-2 6-3 victory over Stan Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday.
Nishikori and Wawrinka, along with Milos Raonic, are battling it out to end 2016 as the world number three behind Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, and on this evidence it is the Japanese who is in the best shape to achieve that goal.
The fifth seed broke his opponent twice in each set in the opening Group John McEnroe encounter at the O2 Arena, and a disconsolate Wawrinka wasted no time in getting off the court after falling to defeat in a little over an hour.
Nishikori made by far the brighter start, and saw three break-point opportunities come and go before eventually punishing his opponent in game five.
After expertly manoeuvring Wawrinka around the court, Nishikori put him away courtesy of a routine forehand at the net with the Swiss out of position.
A Wawrinka double-fault saw him drop service for a second time but there were no such concerns for Nishikori, who held to love to go ahead and give his opponent much to ponder during the break.
The Japanese enjoyed some good fortune as a return winner looped over Wawrinka's head and just dropped in to hand him a break and a 3-2 lead in the second set.
And the misery suffered by the Swiss was not complete there, as he gave up a 30-0 lead in game nine, his resounding defeat confirmed when he went long.
Nishikori  bt Wawrinka  6-2 6-3
Wawrinka - 12/31
Nishikori - 19/18
Wawrinka - 5
Nishikori - 5
BREAK POINTS WON
Wawrinka - 0/0
Nishikori - 4/7
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Wawrinka - 63
Nishikori - 47
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Wawrinka - 62/38
Nishikori - 80/74
Wawrinka - 41
Nishikori - 60