World number one Daniil Medvedev continued the build-up to his US Open title defense with a 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic in the ATP hardcourt touranment in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Friday.
He booked a title showdown with defending champion and third seed Cameron Norrie, who beat second-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
By reaching Saturday’s final, his fourth of the year, top-seeded Medvedev is assured of taking the top ranking into his title defense at Flushing Meadows later this month.
Kecmanovic, ranked 38th in the world and seeded fourth, got off to a strong start against Medvedev, who is playing his first tournament since bowing out of the quarter-finals at Mallorca in June.
The Serbian, playing his third semi-final of the year, seized a 4-1 lead, but Medvedev found his range and relentlessly pounded his way back from the baseline.
He regained a break and swept through the tiebreaker against the frustrated Kecmanovic, who could find no answer as Medvedev powered to a 3-0 second-set lead on the way to victory.
“Very tough match,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “He started great and all the first set was a great level. So many tough points, so many points where I felt like I was close to getting the edge.
“The tie-break was great.”
Friday’s action marked the first time since Cincinnati last year that the top four seeds made it to the semi-finals of an ATP tournament.
Britain’s Norrie saved a pair of break points in the final game to grab his first win over Auger-Aliassime in five attempts — and admitted those previous defeats weighed on him.
“Felix has got me the last four times, so going into it I really wanted to win that one,” said Norrie, who withstood 17 aces from the Canadian.
“Previous times I had match points, so I was thinking about that in the back of my mind.
“It’s never easy,” added the Wimbledon semi-finalist, who sailed a forehand long on his first match point then had to fight off a break point before he was able to celebrate a return to the Los Cabos final, when Auger-Aliassime fired wide on his second match point.