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Watch highlights of Kei Nishikori's semi-final victory over Stan Wawrinka in Brisbane. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Nishikori Ousts Wawrinka In Brisbane

Japanese star faces Dimitrov for the title 

Kei Nishikori is making a statement with his tennis at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. The third seed didn’t drop serve on Saturday in scoring a 7-6(3), 6-3 upset over second seed Stan Wawrinka.

"I'm feeling very happy to be in the final tomorrow. I've tried many times and this is the first time to get to Sunday in Brisbane," said Nishikori. "Especially beating Stan today, it's been a good start to the year."

This is Nishikori’s second straight victory over Wawrinka, with the previous win coming last November at the ATP Finals. He evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Wawrinka to 4-4.

Nishikori will now play the winner of seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated top seed and defending champion Milos Raonic in the other semi-final. He has dominated his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Dimitrov 3-0, including a win last July at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto.

"Dimi started playing much better last year, especially at the end of the season. I think he's the next Top 10 player," said Nishikori. "He's going to be a tough opponent."

Despite the loss, Wawrinka said he had plenty of positives to take from his week in Brisbane.

"I think my level, in general, was good. I had three good and tough matches, playing better each match," said Wawrinka. "Now I just need to keep working out and get ready for the next tournament."

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Wawrinka and Nishikori traded service holds in the opening set to force a tie-break, but it was the Japanese star who grabbed the first burst of momentum. Nishikori went on a five-point run to take a 6/2 lead and grabbed the early advantage on his second set point opportunity.

The third seed finally earned the first break of the match to lead Wawrinka 3-1 in the second set, but the Swiss player fought hard and immediately broke back in the next game. Nishikori calmly responded with a second consecutive break of Wawrinka and held the lead this time, easily closing out the match on serve at his first chance.

 

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