Nishikori advances to Miami Open final against Djokovic

Miami (Florida), April 3 (IANS) Japanese No.6 seed Kei Nishikori rolled to a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios and will square off against Serbian World No.1 and top seed Novak Djokovic in the Miami Open tennis final.

Despite putting just 56 percent of his first serves in play on Saturday, Nishikori was broken just once during the one-hour, 24-minute match, using his rock-solid ground strokes to control the semi-final, reports Efe.

The stats told the story, as Nishikori struck 19 winners to Kyrgios’ 18 and committed just eight unforced errors, 23 fewer than his opponent.

Nishikori recovered quickly from a long three-set victory the day before against Frenchman Gael Monfils — in which he prevailed after saving five match points — and showcased his elite return of serve against the big-serving 20-year-old up-and-comer.

Despite his superior firepower, the 24th-seeded Kyrgios won just 69 percent of his first-serve points and only 40 percent of his second-serve points against Nishikori.

The 28-year-old Djokovic, who battled past Belgian No. 15 seed David Goffin 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the first men’s semi-final, will be seeking his sixth title in Miami.

Nishikori, 26, has never won the Miami Open.

But he defeated Djokovic, an 11-time Grand Slam champion, on a similar hard-court surface in the 2014 US Open semifinals.

Djokovic leads their career head-to-head record 6-2.