Nishikori to meet Medvedev in Tokyo final

Published by Leigh Rogers

HOMETOWN HERO: Kei Nishikori is starring in Tokyo this week; Getty Images
Kei Nishikori is one win away from claiming his third title in Tokyo. The top-ranked Japanese player meets Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori is enjoying a stellar week in Tokyo, with the hometown favourite advancing to the final without dropping a set.

The world No.12 proved too strong for Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the semifinals on Saturday, winning 7-6(2) 6-1.

Nishikori hit 10 aces and only lost 11 points on serve in the 90-minute clash. In his 10th career meeting against the No.25-ranked Gasquet, it was only Nishikori’s third win, and first on hard court.

Nishikori is aiming to win the Tokyo title for a third time in his career, having previously won in 2012 and 2014.

He now faces Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Medvedev continued his winning run by defeating Canadian world No.31 Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-3 in the other semifinal.

The No.32-ranked Medvedev fired 12 aces and did not drop serve in the 63-minute match, recording his sixth win of the week.

“Denis is a great player and sometimes in tennis, nobody can win all the tournaments. Sometimes you lose to someone, sometimes you beat somebody,” Medvedev told ATPWorldTour.com. “I managed to show a really good level today, good serve. I managed to break him, so I came out on top.”

It sends the 22-year-old Medvedev into his third ATP final of the season; he is aiming to add to titles won in Sydney and Winston-Salem. He also becomes the first qualifier to reach the Tokyo final since Magnus Norman in 2002.

Medvedev is projected to break into the world’s top 30 rankings following his performance this week – and could move as high as No.22 and overtake Karen Khachanov as the top-ranked Russian if he wins the title.

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“It’s just a good feeling when we are two friends like this and we are at the top going up and we can compete like this,” Medvedev said.

“We don’t talk about competitive stuff, but I know he (Khachanov) doesn’t want me to pass him.”

Nishikori won his only previous meeting with Medvedev, prevailing in straight sets on Monte Carlo clay earlier this season.

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