Kei Nishikori had to save two match points to win a thriller over Gilles Muller 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 Saturday to reach the Basel finals.
Nishikori, a former champion, was down match points in the second with Muller serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30, but a perfectly placed lob kept the Japenese in the match.
“I knew he was coming in,” said Nishikori of that first match point. “I tried to play with confidence even on my second serve. My arm was shaking a little bit, but I managed to get through that tough moment.”
Nishikori is into his fifth final of the year, and he’ll meet Marin Cilic in a rematch of their 2014 US Open final.
Cilic moved into the 9th position in the ATP Race to London, ahead of Tomas Berdych, after ending the run of qualifier Mischa Zverev 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Mischa played great this week,” Cilic said. “He was serving and coming to the net extremely well. When I saved those break points at 4-4, 0-40 in the second set, that was the turning point of the match. That gave me some confidence. The third set was a battle but I felt I was better in the end.”
Nishikori leads Cilic 7-4 but of course lost the only meeting in a final with the Croat.
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