Kei Nishikori has extinguished Australia’s hopes at the Brisbane International with a commanding win over wildcard Jordan Thompson.
The Japanese world No.5 needed just over an hour on Friday to sweep aside Thompson, winning their quarter-final 6-1 6-1 on Pat Rafter Arena.
Nishikori will face Stan Wawrinka, who had earlier beaten unseeded Brit Kyle Edmund, for a spot in Sunday’s decider.
Thompson from Sydney became a fan favourite at the Queensland Tennis Centre after his stunning first-round upset of Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer but never looked a chance against a determined Nishikori.
However, it was still an encouraging tournament for the 22-year-old, who climbed 75 ranking spots last year to sit at No.79 in the world. He is well placed to build on that effort at the Australian Open.
Wawrinka survived an early scare in his quarter-final, losing the first-set tiebreaker but recovering to win 6-7 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 against Edmund.
Edmund, ranked No.45 in the world after breaking into the ATP’s top 50 for the first time last year, had the better of the opening exchanges and was brilliant in the tiebreaker but was unable to keep that level of intensity for the full match.
Wawrinka slammed down 11 aces to two and looked in control after breaking Edmund’s serve to open the second set.
He finished the job with a classy wide serve and volley, wrapping up a hard-fought victory in two hours and 36 minutes.
Rafael Nadal plays defending champion Milos Raonic while Dominic Thiem takes on Grigor Dimitrov in the other quarter-finals.