BARCELONA: Russian Daniil Medvedev reached the final of the Barcelona Open for the first time after edging out Kei Nishikori 6-4 3-6 7-5 in a tense and tight semi-final on Saturday.
Medvedev, 23, will now play the winner of the other semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem on Sunday, after avenging his Brisbane International final defeat by Nishikori in January.
It will be his third showpiece of 2019 but his first final on claycourt.
The Russian broke fourth seed Nishikori in the seventh game of the opener and comfortably saw out the set but was pegged back by the Japanese, who won five games in a row to take the second set and make an ideal start to the decider.
Medvedev, ranked 14th, soon broke back against the world number seven to level the match and as both players consistently held their serve a tie-break looked inevitable.
But Medvedev earned the first match point with a down-the-line winner and needed only one opportunity, clinching an entertaining match that lasted two hours and 25 minutes when Nishikori found the net with a forehand.