Sports

Despite loss in US Open final, Japanese fans look to bright future for Kei Nishikori

  • Supporters react as they watch on the television Japan's Kei Nishikori play Marin Cilic of Croatia at the U.S. Open tennis final, in Matsue, hometown of Nishikori, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Supporters react as they watch on the television Japan's Kei Nishikori play Marin Cilic of Croatia at the U.S. Open tennis final, in Matsue, hometown of Nishikori, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man writes a message to Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori on a board with newspapers reporting him in the U.S. Open, in Nishikori's hometown of Matsue, western Japan, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Nishikori, the first man from Asia to make it to the final of a Grand Slam singles tournament, faces Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open men's final on Monday. The newspapers' headlines read: "Nishikori advances to the final."  (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    A man writes a message to Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori on a board with newspapers reporting him in the U.S. Open, in Nishikori's hometown of Matsue, western Japan, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Nishikori, the first man from Asia to make it to the final of a Grand Slam singles tournament, faces Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open men's final on Monday. The newspapers' headlines read: "Nishikori advances to the final." (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Green Tennis Garden coach Masaki Kashiwai, right, and supporters of Japan's Kei Nishikori react as they watch the live broadcast of the U.S. Open final between Nishikori and Marin Cilic of Croatia, in Matsue, hometown of Nishikori, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Kashiwai began coaching Nishikori when he was just six years old.  (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Green Tennis Garden coach Masaki Kashiwai, right, and supporters of Japan's Kei Nishikori react as they watch the live broadcast of the U.S. Open final between Nishikori and Marin Cilic of Croatia, in Matsue, hometown of Nishikori, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Kashiwai began coaching Nishikori when he was just six years old. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

While Japanese fans were understandably disappointed after Kei Nishikori missed out on the U.S. Open title, his unprecedented run to the final will do much to boost his career and the sport's popularity in a country where baseball and soccer dominate headlines.

In Nishikori's home town of Matsue, over 800 fans packed into a convention hall to cheer on their hero at a standing-room only public viewing event. So many showed up that organizers had to turn people away once the match started at 6:10 a.m. Tuesday morning local time.

The anticipation of seeing the first Japanese win a Grand Slam quickly dissipated though when Nishikori got off to a slow start before eventually falling 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Croatia's Marin Cilic.