© Mike Lawrence/Citi Open

Kei Nishikori makes his second straight appearance in the Washington quarter-finals

Cilic Sets Up Nishikori Rematch In Washington

Washington semi-finals to feature rematch between 2014 US Open finalists

World No. 5 Kei Nishikori defeated Sam Groth 6-4, 6-4 in the first quarter-final match Friday afternoon at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C and will face Marin Cilic in a rematch of the 2014 US Open final.

The second-seeded Nishikori advanced to the semi-finals for the first time in five appearances at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament, as he withstood 15 aces and saved all four break points faced on serve. He capitalised on his fifth break point of the opening set to go up 4-3, and broke Groth again in the fifth game of the second set.

"It was my first time playing against Sam. I had to guess on my returns a lot since as hard as he serves, it's tough to see the ball," said Nishikori. "But I was feeling good on my returns, coming in more than usual and being aggressive."

Groth, whose serve hit 147 mph against Nishikori, had knocked out No. 7 seed Feliciano Lopez and No. 9 Viktor Troicki en route to the quarter-finals.

Nishikori improved to a 41-9 season record, third among 2015 match wins leaders on the ATP World Tour:

Player
2015 W-L
1) Novak Djokovic 48-3
Andy Murray 48-8
3) Kei Nishikori 41-9
4) Roger Federer 40-7
Tomas Berdych 40-12

In the next round, Nishikori will face Marin Cilic, who took out Alexander Zverev 7-5, 7-6. Cilic trails Nishikori 3-5 in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head matchup, but won their last meeting at Flushing Meadows last year to capture his first Grand Slam title.

The No. 3 seed Cilic edged his 18-year-old opponent in their one-hour, 48-minute match. After breaking Zverev in the final game of the first set, Cilic raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set and served for the match at 7-5, 5-3. However, the German broke back to force a tie-break before succumbing.

"It's great to be back in the semi-finals here and to have a chance to play against Kei in the United States. For sure it is going to be an exciting and entertaining match," said Cilic. "It's a great way to start the summer hard-court season, and I feel that my form is getting better match after match."

By reaching the semi-finals, Cilic matches his best result in Washington (l. to Nalbandian in 2010) and improves to 6-2 in the American capital. It is his first tournament since losing in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic.

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