Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori met in the second semifinal of the New York Open with the winner booking a spot in the inaugural final against Sam Querrey, who defeated Adrian Mannarino earlier. It was the top-seeded South African who took the match 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Fast Start For Anderson
Anderson started off the proceedings with a hold at 30. He quickly attacked the Nishikori serve as the Japanese was struggling to find his first serve. A return winner put him up 15-30 and a double fault put Anderson up double break point. A missed forehand gave Anderson the immediate break.
A hold at love for Anderson consolidated the break for the South African and another double fault set up double break point once again. It was deja vu as 2014 US Open finalist missed another forehand which gave Anderson a commanding 4-0 lead.
Anderson consolidated his double break lead with a hold at love, and finally Nishikori found himself on the board with a hold at 15. His hold at 15 was something he had to take into the second set with the set well out of his reach at this point. The 2017 US Open finalist closed out the set 6-1 in 22 minutes.
Nishikori Fights Back
Nishikori took a quick break after the opening set to try to get himself to regroup after a horrendous opening set. Down 15-40, he fought back after a backhand slice pass winner and got the game back to deuce. He held on in his second opportunity as the fifth seed took the game much to the delight of the New York crowd who were really backing him on this occasion.
Anderson was tested for the first time on serve after a backhand return put Nishikori up 15-30. There were two break points for the five seed but was unable to take them but these were encouraging signs for the Japanese as he was able to finally to take some points off the Anderson serve.
The Japanese finally got the break in the fourth game. He took his chance after going up 15-40, and a winner gave him the break for 3-1. He was able to consolidate the break as the former top-five player went up 4-1.
Neither man was truly tested on their serve until Nishikori was serving out for the set. He couldn't convert his own set points and then had to save break points to save the set from being extended. He took the second set on his serve 6-3.
Anderson Claims Decisive Tiebreaker
After claiming set two, Nishikori was looking to complete the comeback and take set three. Points on the opposition serve were hard to come by though in the seventh game, the Japanese had break point after his backhand return landed right on the line, and Anderson dumped it into the net.
There would be more concern in the set later on as down 5-6 and serving for a final set breaker, Nishikori called for the trainer and then received a medical timeout. The Japanese was heavily taped in the thigh before coming back out and was able to force the tiebreak. In the end though, Anderson took the match to book his spot in the finals.