Kuala Lumpur: Kei Nishikori eased into the semifinals of the Malaysian Open by sinking Australia`s Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-0 on Friday without moving past first gear.
Japan`s rising tennis star was in his element in the first set, twice breaking Matosevic in the fifth and ninth game, firing four aces in the process to seal a 6-3 win.
In the second, the 24-year-old crushed the 78th ranked Matosevic in just under 30-minutes with some captivating play, including his ferocious forehand returns -- much to the delight of the 2,000 crowd gathered at the Putra Stadium in Malaysia`s capital Kuala Lumpur.
The world`s eighth ranked player and top seed has looked at ease in this tournament, despite earlier saying he was drained after his recent defeat in the US Open.
Nishikori`s run in that tournament left victims including world number one Novak Djokovic in his wake as he became the first Asian man to make a Grand Slam singles final.
Also on Friday, second seed Ernests Gulbis moved on to the semifinals after a straightforward 6-3, 7-5 victory over Germany`s Benjamin Becker.
The Latvian, who cut an edgy figure in his three-set victory over Philipp Petzschner in the second round, will face a litmus test against Julien Benneteau.
The French fourth seed beat Uruguay`s fifth seeded Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 in a 139-minute battle, sharpening his assault on a first Malaysian Open title after having finished as runner-up in 2012 and 2013.