Kei Nishikori brushed aside top seed Cilic and will play against Marinko Matosevic in Memphis 2013 semifinal.
Despite hitting eight aces more than his challenger (12-4), top seed Marin Cilic came nowhere close to eliminating fifth-seeded Japanese Nishikori. The players were tied at 2-2 in their head-to -head series prior to their quarterfinal encounter. Both of them got off to a shaky start and gave away their initial serves. Cilic then conceded yet another break and the Japanese confirmed it with some difficulties. A 4-2 lead boosted the Japanese’s confidence – he dropped only one point in his last two service games, concluding the first set with a hold to love.
Nishikori was throwing back everything the top seed Croatian threw his way in the second set, which allowed him to put the match beyond any doubt by acquiring a 5-1 double break lead. Cilic then held to love, yet it was too little too late as the Japanese converted his very first match ball for a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
His semifinal opponent will be unseeded Australian Matosevic who came back after a set down against seventh-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. The latter turned around the first set tie-break to move one set up, but the level of his game dropped significantly later on. He allowed the Australian to go on a four-game run in the beginning of the second set, which ultimately ended with Matosevic holding to love. Similarly, the crucial moment of the decider happened early on as Matosevic achieved a first-game break. He served splendidly throughout the rest of the set and tucked away his fourth match ball to grab a fine 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4 triumph. He won 87% of the first serve points.