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Kei Nishikori beats Marinko Matosevic in Malaysian Open

Kei Nishikori surged into the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open with a dominant victory over Marinko Matosevic on Friday.

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Japanese top seed Nishikori, playing in his first tournament since reaching the final of the US Open earlier this month, dismantled his Australian counterpart to ease to a 6-3 6-0 success in an hour and three minutes.

Nishikori was in complete control from start to finish, losing just 10 points on serve in the contest to set up a last-four meeting with Jarkko Nieminen at the ATP 250 event.

Finn Nieminen capitalised on a poor performance from seventh seed Pablo Andujar, winning 14 points on the Spaniard's second serve to keep his hopes of a third career singles title alive.

Second seed Ernests Gulbis is also through to the penultimate round after he overcame German Benjamin Becker 6-3 7-5.

The Latvian was delighted with the improvements in his game having been pushed to three sets by Philipp Petzschner in the second round.

"Today was much better," Gulbis said. "When I broke him in the second set, I played three unbelievable points. I'm finding my game."

His opponent in the semi-finals will be France's Julien Benneteau, who emerged triumphant 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 in an entertaining three-set encounter with Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas, a victory that puts him on the cusp of reaching the tournament showpiece for a third successive year.

"I hope I can make the final again. We'll see what happens tomorrow [Saturday]," Benneteau said. "It will be difficult. But I will try to be back in the final again and play better."

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