By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori retired from the Paris Masters on Thursday with a suspected neck injury in his third-round match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, 10 days before the start of the ATP World Tour finals.
Nishikori was trailing 7-6(3) 4-1 when he threw in the towel. Gasquet, the 10th seed, will now play British second seed Andy Murray.
Nishikori had just been treated by the physiotherapist for back pain at the changeover.
The Japanese is one of eight players qualified for the World Tour finals, which will be played at the O2 arena in London from Nov. 15-22.
Earlier, Murray put down a warning for the Davis Cup final when he dismantled David Goffin 6-1 6-0 in awe-inspiring fashion to advance into the last eight.
Three weeks before Britain and Belgium face off in the Davis Cup final on clay in Ghent, Murray had just too much pace for the 16th seed on the Bercy hard court.
Goffin can only hope the red dust will slow down world number three Murray in the Nov.27-29 tie after the Scot had the Belgian chasing from corner to corner throughout a one-sided contest.
An unforced error gave Murray the opening set and the Olympic champion was relentless in the second, closing it out with a backhand winner down the line having allowed Goffin only eight points on his service games.
World number one Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Rafa Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Nishikori, and David Ferrer have all qualified for the World Tour finals.
Should Nishikori pull out, Gasquet, who is currently ninth in the ATP Race to London, is well placed to take the remaining spot.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Martyn Herman/Alan Baldwin)