Nishikori poised to make history

Kei Nishikori of Japan answers a reporter's question during a press conference after his third round win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia at the 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament at the Qizhong Tennis Center in Shanghai. Nishikori is set to become the highest ranked men's tennis player in Japanese history after he reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters

Kei Nishikori is set to become the highest ranked men's tennis player in Japanese history after he reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters -- but his ambitions do not stop there.

Nishikori, who shocked fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, beat Colombia's Santiago Giraldo on Thursday to qualify for the last eight, where he will meet Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The 21-year-old jointly holds the record for the highest-ranked Japanese man ever. He is currently 47th but went as high as 46 in May, tying with retired Shuzo Matsuoka.

He will become the sole record holder on Monday when the new rankings are issued.

"Shuzo Matsuoka has been a great mentor and teacher for me," said Nishikori. "It is an honour to be able to break his record and become the number one tennis player in Japan."

Speaking about his run in Shanghai, Nishikori said: "It's really special for me. It's only few times playing Masters, so it really means a lot to me, this win.

"To beat Jo the other day, it means a lot to me to beat a top 10 player. Played a tough match again today. I'm really happy, you know, to get a quarter-final here."

Referring to his goals, he said: "I want to be number one... that's my goal. I think there are a lot of things I have to do. But for now, this year, I want to get top 30 if I can. Yeah, top 30 is my next goal."

When asked whether Asian players had a disadvantage because they had to compete with taller and stronger players, he admitted it was tough but said he had advantages.

"I think I have more speed than them. I can, you know, change up with pace. I can do different things against them. It is not easy to play with big guys, but I'm getting used to it and I'm getting confident. Now it's not a big problem for me."