Vastavam web: Home favourite Kei Nishikori defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-6(2) 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Japan Open on Saturday, setting up a final against Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev. The Japanese world number 12 was made to battle during a tough first set as Gasquet saved three break points to take Nishikori to a tie-break.
Gasquet’s spirit appeared broken as Nishikori comfortably broke the 32-year-old’s serve at the first time of asking, wrapping up the second set in just 33 minutes. Nishikori, who has won this event in 2012 and 2014, is aiming to win his first ATP event since February 2016. The 28-year-old is currently 10th in the race to reach the end of season ATP Finals in London. With the top eight players qualifying, he is hoping to catch South African Kevin Anderson, currently in eighth, who lost to Gasquet in the quarters on Friday.
Medvedev beat 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-3 in the earlier semi-final. Medvedev, who has beaten Diego Schwartzmann and Milos Raonic already this week, wrapped up the victory with back-to-back aces in a time of 63 minutes to reach his third ATP final of the year. “Dennis is an amazing player,” Medvedev said on court, noting he had been prepared for a tough match today after their previous meetings in which Shapovalov had a 2-0 record. The Russian has won both of his previous finals this year at Winston-Salem and also Sydney, once again as a qualifier.