MEMPHIS (AFP) – Japan’s Kei Nishikori kept his bid for a third straight ATP Memphis Open title on course with a gritty, three-set semi-final victory over Sam Querrey on Saturday.
The top-seeded Nishikori withstood 27 aces from America’s Querrey, toiling for two hours and 41 minutes to claim a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) victory.
Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up and a quarter-finalist at this year’s Australian Open, next faces second-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who outlasted American Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Nishikori will be seeking an eighth career title. Four of those came last year, when he repeated in Memphis and also won the Barcelona Open, Malaysian Open and Japan Open. Anderson, the 28-year-old world number 15, blasted 13 aces past Young to reach the championship match.
He broke Young at love in the seventh game of the final set for a 4-3 lead and held twice for the triumph, his fifth in six meetings with the 25-year-old US left-hander.
Anderson has lost his past five ATP finals appearances, most recently last March at Acapulco to Grigor Dimitrov. His only ATP titles came at the 2011 South African Open and in 2012 at Delray Beach, Florida, where he now resides.