TORONTO — It’s not getting any easier for Kei Nishikori at the Rogers Cup.
Nishikori defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (6), 6-1 on Saturday to advance to the tournament’s final, but will now play either world No. 1 Novak Djokovic or 10th-seeded Gael Monfils.
Djokovic and Monfils were scheduled to play their semifinal later Saturday on centre court at York University’s Aviva Centre. Nishikori has never won an ATP Masters 1000 event and Djokovic owns a 9-2 record against him. Although Nishikori has won both of his meetings with Monfils, most players on the ATP Tour consider the Frenchman as tennis’s most dangerous opponent.
"I think both guys are playing great tennis right now, especially Monfils," said Nishikori. "He won Washington and I saw some of his match yesterday against (Canadian Milos Raonic.) It was great match he played.
"So I think it’s going to be interesting. But, you know, haven’t beat Novak for a long time on hard court so I think it’s going to be a great challenge for me to play Novak again in the final, because we played in Miami and he dominated the game. So I hope I can get revenge this time."
Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil faced Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares in the doubles semifinal.
Earlier, Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo beat Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau 6-4, 6-3.
Three unforced errors were Wawrinka’s undoing in the first set, with a double fault robbing him of the advantage on serve, then a forehand way wide of the court — almost into the stands — giving Nishikori the tiebreak set point.
Wawrinka’s mental errors continued in the second set with Nishikori holding advantage for the fourth game. He missed a wide-open volley, sending the ball out of bounds when Nishikori had ceded an entire lane of the court to him.
Obviously frustrated, Wawrinka leaned on the net after the misplay, shaking his head then pulling his shirt over his face as he walked back to the baseline to the laughter of fans.
"Just missed an easy shot of the match. That’s it," said Wawrinka with a smile. "You don’t feel good on the court when you miss that kind of shot. It can happen, you know. At the end of the day we can all miss easy shots.
"That’s not the most important shot — I was already quite down in the second set. It wasn’t easy for me to try to find any solution."