Rotterdam: Kei Nishikori continued his unbeaten debut week at the Rotterdam Open with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on Friday to reach the semi-finals on the back of a performance he described as “almost perfect”.
The Dubai-bound Japanese top seed set up a semi-final with treble Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, who had his troubles before putting away Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
Nishikori won his 11th match of the season as he controlled Fucsovics in their first career meeting.
Asia’s top player began the year with a 12th career title in Brisbane before suffering his only 2019 loss at the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic in an injury-hit quarter-final exit.
Fucsovics arrived in the Dutch port city after playing the Sofia final last weekend.
“This is one of the best that I’ve played, the second set was almost perfect,” Nishikori said. “I feel like I’m improving with each match.
“I was making almost every ball.”
Wawrinka leads the series with Nishikori 5-4, winning their last match in August at Cincinnati.
“Stan is a very good player, I’m glad to see him back from injury,” Nishikori said. “I hope we can have a good match.”
“He’s got a great backhand and plays very aggressive, it will be tough.”
Wawrinka, the 2015 champion in Rotterdam, was broken while serving for the match against Shapovalov, leading a set and 5-4.
As the set went into a tiebreaker, his resistance stiffened, with Wawrinka running out the winner on his second match point as the Canadian drove long.
“I feel relieved, happy, I was playing great,” said the veteran Swiss.
Daniil Medvedev ended Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s seven-match win streak when the Russian triumphed 6-4, 6-2.
Tsonga, ranked a lowly 140 after 2018 knee surgery, had been on a roll in the Dutch port city, following his title victory last week in Montpellier.
But fifth seed Medvedev arrived in Rotterdam buoyed by a title of his own after lifting the Sofia trophy five days ago.