Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to reach the final of the Barcelona Open after fourth seed defeated Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-4 here on Saturday.
“I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match,” said a delighted Nishikori after his 86-minute win.
“I love coming to Spain to play. There have not been any easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand against (Marin) Cilic and today.”
In the final on Sunday, Nishikori will take on Santiago Giraldo, who beat Rafael Nadal’s conquerer Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3.
At Bucharest, top seed Grigor Dimitrov will attempt to capture his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday against defending champion Lukas Rosol in the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy final.
Dimitrov coasted into the final after his semifinal opponent, third seed Gael Monfils, retired due to a right ankle injury while trailing 1-5 in the first set.
“It is disappointing for Gael,” said Dimitrov. “As much as I am happy, it is an undeserved win and unfortunately it had to end that way.”
Sania, Cara in final
Sania Mirza earned herself an opportunity to win her first title of the season after reaching the summit clash of the PORSCHE Tennis Grand Prix with Zimbabwean partner Cara Black, on Saturday.
The second-seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair defeated the German pair of Antonia Lottner and Anna Zaja 6-2, 2-6, 10-4.
In the final they will face winner of the other semifinal between Italian top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci and Jelena Jankovic and Alisa Kleybanova.