Memphis: Japan`s Kei Nishikori kept his bid for a third straight ATP Memphis Open title on course with a gritty, three-set semi-final victory over Sam Querrey on Saturday.
The top-seeded Nishikori withstood 27 aces from America`s Querrey, toiling for two hours and 41 minutes to claim a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) victory.
Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up and a quarter-finalist at this year`s Australian Open, next faces second-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who outlasted American Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Nishikori will be seeking an eighth career title. Four of those came last year, when he repeated in Memphis and also won the Barcelona Open, Malaysian Open and Japan Open.
But his week hasn`t been entirely smooth, as he has had to rally from a set down in all three of his matches.
He had two match points on Querrey`s serve at 5-6 in the third set, but Querrey won four points in a row to force the tiebreaker, then took a 4-2 lead in the decider.
Nishikori won five of the next six points, however, to seal the win.
"I thought a couple of times I might lose tonight," Nishikori said. "He was hitting a lot of aces and it was tough for me to hit any returns. I kept playing my game and as soon as I had a chance at his second serve, I tried to come in."
Anderson, the 28-year-old world number 15, blasted 13 aces past Young to reach the championship match.
He broke Young at love in the seventh game of the final set for a 4-3 lead and held twice for the triumph, his fifth in six meetings with the 25-year-old US left-hander.
"I thought it was a really tough match," said Anderson, who saved all four break points he faced in the second and third sets.
"There were parts of the match where I didn`t feel like I maybe played my best tennis, but I was able to hang in there.
"I`ve got a shot at winning the title tomorrow and that`s what I came here to do," added Anderson, who has lost his past five ATP finals appearances, most recently last March at Acapulco to Grigor Dimitrov.
His only ATP titles came at the 2011 South African Open and in 2012 at Delray Beach, Florida, where he now resides.