BRISBANE – Kei Nishikori showed he was back to his best form as he downed Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the Brisbane International on Thursday.
Nishikori proved too consistent for the Bulgarian in a high-quality match, securing crucial breaks at 5-5 in both sets.
Afterwards, the 29-year-old said his goal was to get back into the top five after seeing his ranking plummet to 39 in April last year due to persistent injuries.
“I’m trying to go top five, that’s my next goal,” Nishikori said.
“The last couple of months of last year I was playing great tennis, and I think I’m doing that now this week.”
The match was a replay of the 2017 final, won by Dimitrov in three sets.
But Nishikori turned the tables this year by returning the Bulgarian’s serve superbly throughout, putting Dimitrov under pressure at key moments and showing fight to come back from 1-4 down in the second set.
“I was expecting to go to a third set – he started playing better and I was down 4-1,” Nishikori said.
“But I think the last couple of games I played very solid, and I’m very happy.”
"I want to go into the top 5. That's my next goal. . I think I'm playing great tennis again."