South Africa’s Kevin Anderson ended Kei Nishikori’s hopes of a comeback victory on Saturday at the New York Open, beating the Japanese fifth seed in three sets in Long Island.
Top seed Anderson downed Nishikori 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) in a gruelling 2hr 11min semi-final and will now play America’s Sam Querrey in Sunday’s final.
Nishikori had been chasing a first ATP Tour victory after returning from a five-month injury layoff.
However the 28-year-old was slow to start, with Anderson racing through the first set to go 1-0 up before Nishikori found his range in the second.
Anderson’s reliable service game — he won 79 percent of his first serve points compared to Nishikori’s 60 percent — was to prove decisive in the third set tie-break.
Nishikori dropped three service points in the tie-break, which 31-year-old world number 11 Anderson duly punished to wrap up the win.
Earlier, Querrey ended his long wait for a first victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino to book his place in the final.
Second seed Querrey, who had lost all three of his previous meetings with the fourth-seeded Mannarino, came from behind to win 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-3 to the delight of the home fans.
World number 12 Querrey, who has not reached an ATP Tour final since the Mexican Open last year, was delighted to have finally notched a win over Mannarino.
“It feels like I beat Rafa (Nadal) out there,” the 30-year-old Las Vegas resident said. “That guy’s always been so tricky. It’s my first time beating him and it feels good.
“I’m so happy to get through that and be in the final. I’m really excited.”