(Reuters) - Kei Nishikori exacted a measure of revenge against Marin Cilic when the Japanese world number five overcame the Croat in the semi-finals of the Citi Open tennis tournament on Saturday in Washington D.C.
Eleven months ago Cilic beat Nishkori in the U.S. Open final in straight sets at Flushing Meadows, but after a dismal start the Japanese prevailed 3-6 6-1 6-4 in their hardcourt tune-up ahead of this year’s U.S. championships in New York.
Nishikori will meet the winner of Saturday’s later semi-final between Americans John Isner and Steve Johnson.
The 25-year-old Nishikori will be chasing his third win of the year and and is already assured of moving up a notch to fourth in the world rankings.
Nishikori fell behind 3-0 in the opening set and could not recover, but rebounded with a dominant second set to level the match against the eighth-ranked Cilic.
In the final set, Nishikori led 3-1 and 4-2 lead but Cilic battled back to draw level at 4-4 before the Japanese rose up to win the final two games and close out the towering Croat in their first meeting since the Open final.
Nishikori, who has now beaten Cilic in six of their nine head-to-head matches, improved his match record this year to 42-9. Only Novak Djokovic (48-3) and Andy Murray (48-8) have more match wins on the 2015 ATP World Tour.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine