Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov continued his stellar record against top seed and defending champion Milos Raonic on Saturday at the Brisbane International winning the last five games of their semi-final battle to score a 7-6(7), 6-2 upset win.
“Milos is one of the biggest servers out there. I knew what to expect, so I just had to execute it the right way,” said Dimitrov.
“I played a quite solid game to break him [in the second set] and after that, I was just solid overall. I was reading his serve pretty well after that. From then on, it was just smooth sailing.”
This is Dimitrov’s third consecutive win against Raonic, allowing him to improve his record in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series to 3-1.
Standing between Dimitrov and the title is third seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated second seed Stan Wawrinka earlier in the day.
The third seed didn’t drop serve on Saturday in scoring a 7-6(3), 6-3 upset over second seed Stan Wawrinka.
“I’m feeling very happy to be in the final tomorrow. I’ve tried many times and this is the first time to get to Sunday in Brisbane,” said Nishikori. “Especially beating Stan today, it’s been a good start to the year.”
This is Nishikori’s second straight victory over Wawrinka, with the previous win coming last November at the ATP Finals. He evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Wawrinka to 4-4.
The Japanese star leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Dimitrov 3-0, including a quarter-final win last July at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto.
“We played a pretty close match last year. I felt like I had my chance and my momentum,” said Dimitrov. “I’m not playing anything next week, so I’m going to get out there and leave it all on the court.”
Although Raonic said he was disappointed by the loss, he remains confident about being able to regroup and continue raising his level for the Australian Open.
“I feel very good about it. I stepped up this week and did quite a few very good things. It’s about cleaning things up and now I have some time to do that,” said Raonic. “I feel like I’ve done a lot of things to be a much better player. If I can avoid that hiccup, I can have a very, very good time in Melbourne.”
The Brisbane tournament is presented by Suncorp.