ATP Brisbane: Kei Nishikori reaches final with solid win over Stan Wawrinka

Third seed Kei Nishikori defeated second seed Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (3), 6-3 to reach the final of the Brisbane International tournament.

Nishikori toughs out opening set

The Japanese number one was presented with an immediate test as Wawrinka held three break points in the opening game, but Nishikori came through to hold. It proved to be critical as the Swiss was holding easily, nearly perfect on serve.

Following another deuce game on Nishikori's serve, both men held easily to force a tiebreaker. That turned out to be a mess as the returner won five straight points which saw Nishikori emerge with a 5-3 lead, eventually growing to 6-2 lead and wrapping it up 7-3 to take a one set lead.

Wawrinka plays a backhand during his semifinal match in Brisbane/Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Wawrinka plays a backhand during his semifinal match in Brisbane. Image credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Nishikori glides through second set to reach first Brisbane final

In the beginning of the second set, it was Wawrinka who was under pressure as Nishikori pressured the opening service game of the reigning U.S. Open to deuce. Wawrinka held on, but it was only delaying the inevitable as a missed backhand up the line at 15-40 gave Nishikori the break and a 3-1 lead.

Wawrinka was able to break back, but the momentum was short-lived as the 2014 U.S. Open finalist broke again for a 4-2 lead. This time, despite another challenge in the next service game, Nishikori held his advantage and he closed out the match with a love hold to make his way into the final with a straight sets triumph over Wawrinka.

Dimitrov the opponent in the final

Nisikori faces Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the final after the seventh seed upset top seed and defending champion Milos Raonic. The world number five has a perfect 3-0 record against Dimitrov.