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Nishikori, Murray advance to Brisbane semifinals

Kyodo

Kei Nishikori will face world No. 3 Andy Murray in the semifinals of the Brisbane International after defeating fourth seed Alexander Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in their quarterfinal on Friday.

Nishikori, who is seeded fifth and ranked 19th in the world, needed 1 hour, 27 minutes to get past the 18th-ranked Dolgopolov at the Queensland Tennis Centre and advance to the Brisbane semifinals for the first time in three tries.

The 23-year-old broke Dolgopolov in the third game of the first set, while never facing a break point himself as he jumped to a one-set lead and won the second set in a tiebreak.

“I had to adjust to my opponent (in the second set),” Nishikori said. “In the first half of the match I was in good form. I’m pretty strong and I’m getting good results.”

“It was a good match. I think it was my best match all week.”

Murray defeated Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in their quarterfinal.

“He could be the next No.1 player, so it’s going to be tough,” said Nishikori, who lost to Murray in the quarterfinals of last year’s Australian Open.

“He always plays well and he doesn’t give me any easy points, so hopefully I play well and aggressive and try to get to the net more often.”

The other semifinal will pit Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over third-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon, against Jurgen Melzer. The Austrian seventh seed defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-2.