ATP Rotterdam: Stan Wawrinka overpowers Kei Nishikori to set Monfils clash

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ATP Rotterdam: Stan Wawrinka overpowers Kei Nishikori to set Monfils clash

The three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka will compete in the 29th ATP final after everything he has been through in the last year and a half, defeating the top seed Kei Nishikori 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 13 minutes.

2015 Rotterdam champion toppled the Japanese for the sixth time in ten matches, losing serve three times and scoring five breaks from 14 opportunities to cross the finish line first, firing 35 winners and 37 unforced errors while Nishikori stayed on 19 direct points and 32 mistakes.

The Japanese drew nothing from the initial shot, hitting no aces and only a few service winners, having to work hard for every point and failing to move Stan from the comfort zone or impose his shots. The Swiss had some troubles on the second serve although he never looked back, playing on a high level when it mattered the most and controlling the scoreboard in the decider to secure the place in the much-needed final with a late break.

Wawrinka was in the zone right from the start, holding at love to kick off the encounter and breaking in game two with a forehand down the line winner after two game points that Kei wasted. Nishikori sprayed a forehand error in game four to send his rival 4-0 up before pulling one break back to get his name on the scoreboard.

Wawrinka couldn't convert two break points in game six before blasting a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-2 to secure the opener in 37 minutes. Having to raise his level, Kei raced into a 4-0 lead in set number two with a double break, losing serve once at 4-1 but bringing the set home with a fantastic backhand crosscourt winner in the tenth game to set up a decider, standing in a much better position than an hour earlier.

Believing in his shots and game overall, Wawrinka was back at his best in the third set, sailing through the service games and demonstrating power from both wings to break Kei with a forehand return winner in game ten and propel himself into the title match after almost two years.