British number one Andy Murray faces Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the early hours of tomorrow morning in a bid to reach the final of the Brisbane International.
The Scot, who is the tournament’s number one seed, set up the final-four clash after a 6-4 7-6 (7/3) victory over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin today.
Murray unleashed three aces on his way to winning the opening set while taking his only break point and saving two on his own serve.
He then faltered briefly with two double-faults at 3-4 in the second but recovered swiftly to remain on terms in the set, before winning a tie-break 7/3.
The Scot said: “For the most part it was pretty good quality. He served well for the majority of the first set, and especially well at the beginning the second.
“I didn’t really have that many chances on returns, so I needed to serve well today. That helped.”
Murray’s semi-final opponent Nishikori swept past Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov by exactly the same scoreline, 6-4 7-6 (7/3) and either he or the Scot will face one of Grigor Dimitrov and Marcos Baghdatis in the final.
Meanwhile Serena Williams takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the women’s final tomorrow after top seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew due to injury.
Williams was handed an automatic place in the final after the world number one from Belarus reluctantly pulled out of their scheduled semi-final with a toe problem in order to regain fitness for the defence of her Australian Open title.
“Victoria has been nursing this injury for the past 10 days and it has continued to deteriorate to a point where she is unable to take to the court tonight,” tournament director Cameron Pearson said.
In the other semi, Pavlyuchenkova came from a set down to see off Lesia Tsurenko.