ATP Metz: Nishikori overpowers Basilashvili. Simon tops Gasquet



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ATP Metz: Nishikori overpowers Basilashvili. Simon tops Gasquet

Kei Nishikori will compete in back-to-back semi-finals for the first time since Rio Olympics in 2016 following a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over the 5th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in two hours and seven minutes. This was their first meeting on the Tour and Kei had to work hard to emerge as a winner, trailing 3-1 in the deciding set before winning five of the next six games to secure the place in the last four and move two wins away from the first title since Memphis 2016.

The Japanese played well behind his first serve but he struggled after missing it, winning only 13 out of 31 points on the second serve and facing eight break points, losing serve three times. Basilashvili gave his best to challenge the top seed but despite that break up in the decider he couldn't bring the match home, having to play against 12 break points and getting broken five times to end his run in the quarter-final.

Nishikori broke in the third game after a beautiful backhand down the line winner and he kept everything under control in his service games, losing two points in four service games and scoring another break in the ninth game when Nikoloz sent a backhand long.

The Japanese grabbed another break in the second game of the second set after a return winner but he gave his serve away for the first time in the following game to keep Basilashvili in the match. After five good holds on both sides the Georgian broke again in game nine thanks to a double fault from Kei and he closed the set with an ace a few minutes later to take the set 6-4 and force a decider.

The momentum was on his side now and he broke Nishikori again in the third game of the third set to move closer to the finish line. Nikoloz held with an ace in the fourth game for a 3-1 and this was the last call for Nishikori to raise his level and start to play better.

He broke back in game six with a smash winner and again in game 10 after a lucky net cord to cross the finish line first and stay on the title course. Quarter-final results:

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