Vienna Open - Kei Nishikori to face Kevin Anderson in final

Kevin Anderson of South Africa returns returns the ball to Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their semifinal match at the Erste Bank Open tennis tournament in Vienna Austria Saturday Oct. 27 2018

Kei Nishikori will have a chance to win his first ATP title in over two years on Sunday (Oct 28) after beating qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 6-3 to reach the Vienna Open final.

Anderson, who also won in NY in February and reached the final at Wimbledon, earned a fifth career title but first at a higher-level ATP 500 event.

Nishikori leads the field with 60% of second-serve return points and 38% of return games won in the tournament before the match, and the semifinal confirmed the trend as Kukushkin won just 57% of second serve points.

After the win, Anderson improved his head-to-head record against Nishikori to 4-3, earning his second victory in a row this year against the Japanese player, following his NY semifinal triumph.

"It's fantastic. It's been a huge goal of mine all year", Anderson said after lifting the trophy. The Spaniard raised his level in the second set but the South African maintained an excellent 16-5 record in 3-set matches and claimed the seventh win in the last ten matches against lefty players.

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Kevin Anderson with his winning trophy at the ATP Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna. With his victory Friday, Japan's Nishikori moved above John Isner into ninth in the ATP Road to London standings - one spot below Thiem.

Against Verdasco, Anderson hit nine of his 19 aces in the opening set. He then dropped his serve to love, and let another match point slip in Medvedev's next service game by netting a backhand.

Nishikori has a 4-2 record against Anderson from six previous meetings, including a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (4) win in NY in February.

The Romanian aims for a first title after arriving at Basel without a career win over a top-10 opponent.

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