Japan’s Kei Nishikori reached his second ATP final of the season with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis at the Barcelona Open on Saturday.
Nishikori, playing for the first time on clay under new coach and former French Open champion Michael Chang, was dominant on serve throughout and never faced a break point on his way to sealing victory.
“I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match,” said the world number 17.
“I love coming to Spain to play. They have not been easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand.”
Nishikori will face Santiago Giraldo’s in the final of Barcelona Open on Sunday as the Colombian booked a spot in final after beating Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3.
Almagro, who described his win over Nadal as possibly a turning point in his career, was unable to find the same form against the world number 65 as one break in the 11th game was enough to give Giraldo the first set.
The second set was a tale of missed opportunities for Almagro as he could only convert one of five break points and was broken twice himself as Giraldo sealed victory in an hour and 26 minutes.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2014.
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