Nishikori beats Cilic to reach Japan Open semifinals
TOKYO -- Defending champion Kei Nishikori beat Marin Cilic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Japan Open.
The second-seeded Nishikori overcame 23 aces by the hard-hitting Cilic to set up a match against Benoit Paire, who beat Nick Kyrgios 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Nishikori saved one break point in the first game of the third set. Despite receiving treatment on his right shoulder after the third game, he immediately broke Cilic and went on to record his 51st match win of the year.
Friday's contest was a rematch of the 2014 U.S. Open final won by Cilic. Nishikori is seeking his third Japan Open title.
In other matches, French Open champion Stan Wawrinka overpowered Austin Krajicek 6-3, 6-4.
The top-seeded Wawrinka saved every break point he faced to dispatch the American qualifier in just 59 minutes.
The Swiss player, who has won three titles this year, will face Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in Saturday's semifinals. Muller beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-4.
Wawrinka has beaten Muller twice this year, in Chennai and Rotterdam.
Muller hit eight aces and lost just six points on his first serve. The 32-year-old Muller is bidding to reach his first ATP final since Atlanta in 2013.