Kei Nishikori to face John Isner in Washington Open final
Last Updated: 09/08/15 11:29am
Kei Nishikori reached the Washington Open final after beating Marin Cilic 3-6 6-1 6-4 in a rematch of last year's US Open final.
In Sunday's showdown the 25-year-old Asian No 1 will face US eighth seed John Isner, who fired 31 aces and saved three match points to edge compatriot Steve Johnson 6-3 3-6 7-6 (11-9) in his semi-final.
"I had to make some changes. He was playing very well at the start," Nishikori said. "I raised my game in the second set. I'm very happy to go to the final."
Isner beat Nishikori four months ago in a Miami quarter-final in their only prior meeting and he said: "Everything sort of clicked for me that day. I played extremely well. That was my best match of the year. I'm probably going to have to bring that again on Sunday."
The Japanese star is seeking his 10th career title after crowns at Memphis and Barcelona this year but was broken in the second game of the match and Cilic jumped ahead 3-0 in the first 10 minutes.
In the fifth game, the Croatian double-faulted and netted a forehand to hand Nishikori break chances, but he missed the opportunities when attempts at forehand and backhand down the line winners each landed wide.
Cilic held to 4-1 and twice more to take the first set in 35 minutes.
The world No 5 roared back in the second set, however, with Cilic sending a backhand wide to surrender a break in the second game.
Nishikori broke again in the fourth and battled to hold to 5-0 in the 10-minute fifth game, three times denying Cilic on break points as he forced a third set.
The 25-year-old broke Cilic to open the final set but double-faulted away a break in the eighth game that pulled the Croatian level at 4-4.
Nishikori responded by breaking Cilic again for a 5-4 lead and holding serve to end matters after two hours and two minutes.