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Nishikori Keeps Alive Memphis Title Bid

Memphis, U.S.A.

Nishikori© Ron AngleKei Nishikori is two matches away from retaining his Memphis title.

Defending champion Kei Nishikori battled into the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships semi-finals on Friday. The top seed defeated Alex Bogomolov Jr. 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 18 minutes to advance to his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season (also Brisbane).

Nishikori recovered from a set and a break down to win four consecutive games to close out the second set. “His Emirates ATP Ranking might not be Top 50, but he can play,” said Nishikori. “It wasn’t easy today. My tennis level is not quite 100 per cent yet, so I hope I can get better. I have a lot of confidence and my goal is to win the tournament.” Nishikori next faces American veteran Michael Russell.

Russell, who had not won a tour-level match this season coming into Memphis, advanced to the semi-finals when he upset third seed and former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 7-6(6). Russell was broken to love when he served for the match at 5-3 in the second set and also squandered two match points leading 6/4 in the tie-break. But the 35 year old clinched his 72nd tour-level match win to claim his first victory in four career meetings with the Australian.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Yen-Hsun Lu reached the semi-finals with a 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Alex Kuznetsov. He next meets Ivo Karlovic, who hit 16 aces past Jack Sock in a 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-3 win in two hours and 26 minutes.

“I am really happy that I am in the semi-finals, as it was a difficult match,” said Karlovic. “He is a good baseliner, with an unbelievable forehand. So I had to focus on my game.” Karlovic, who has won all 38 of his service games this week, admitted, “I have been feeling it good this week.”

Bryans Into Semi-finals
Top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, chasing their first title of 2014, advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 7-6(0) win over Australian Davis Cup duo Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt. The Bryans did not face a break point and won 16 of 17 points on their second serves.

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