Barcelona Open: Medvedev topples Nishikori to storm into final

Daniil Medvedev secured his spot in the Barcelona Open final after registering a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Kei Nishikori on Saturday.

Daniil Medvedev celebrates his win over Kei Nishikori at the Barcelona Open on Saturday.   -  AFP

Japan's Kei Nishikori missed his chance to reach another final at the Barcelona Open as he lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.

Fourth seed Nishikori had reached the final of the Catalan clay-court event three times, winning in 2014 and 2015 but losing the 2016 final to Rafael Nadal and won't get the chance for revenge this year.

The players exchanged breaks in the third set before the seventh seeded Russian Medvedev seized the first match point to break in the 12th game and win the baseline battle.

The Russian, making his debut at the pre-Roland Garros clay tune-up, will face off for the trophy on Sunday against the winner from 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and third seed Dominic Thiem.

Medvedev took the first set but smashed a racquet as Nishikori levelled by winning the second.

Nishikori broke in the first game in the deciding third set, but the Russian soon broke back for 2-2. Nishikori saved three break points in the sixth game but Medvedev turned the momentum in an instant in the 12th game.

He sent a winning forehand down the line for a match point and immediately converted for victory when Nishikori hit the net with a return.

Nishikori came to the match after beating Medvedev in January's Brisbane final, a success which had ended a 51-tournament title drought for the Japanese ace.