FILE PHOTO – Tennis – Shanghai Masters – Shanghai, China – October 12, 2018 – Kei Nishikori of Japan in action against Roger Federer of Switzerland. REUTERS/Aly Song
VIENNA (Reuters) – Kei Nishikori will have a chance to win his first ATP title in over two years on Sunday after beating qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 6-3 to reach the Vienna Open final.
The Japanese, ranked 11th in the world, will face this year’s Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson after the South African beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3 3-6 6-4.
Nishikori, who won the last of his 11 titles in Memphis in 2016, will attempt to end a run of eight successive defeats in tournament finals.
On Saturday, he missed three break points in the first set before finally breaking in the 10th game with an aggressive forehand winner.
Another break early in the second set was enough to ensure victory against his 71st-ranked opponent.
“The score might look easy, but the match was very tough,” he said. “Kukushkin was defending well and never gave up.”
Anderson hit 19 aces and won 77 percent of first-serve points as he beatVerdasco in just under 2-1/2 hours to reach his fifth final of the season.
Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris