Kooyong VIC 3144, Australia, 11 January 2014 | Rob Sheeley

Japan’s Kei Nishikori will be counting his blessings after he gained a saloon passage into the final of today’s AAMI Classic final at Kooyong. Nishikori was beaten in the semifinals but, through a twist of fate, he will now take on Czech Tomas Berdych in the decider, the man he met two days ago in his own semifinal loss.

Yesterday’s second semifinal between Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet proved to be a war of attrition. Simon was forced to leave the court on crutches after he appeared to roll his right ankle as he ran toward the net. He was trailing compatriot Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 1-0 at the time. This saw Gasquet qualify for today’s final.

However since that time Gasquet has also withdrawn, citing general soreness as his reason and leaving Nishikori as the beneficiary of the double withdrawal.

Berdych, won through in the more traditional way when he defeated Nishikori in straight sets 6-4 6-1 and would have to be considered a hot favourite for today’s final on the credence of that victory. Interestingly, Nishikori holds a 3-1 win record over Berdych heading into the match.

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The final is the second match on court today and will be preceded by an exhibition match between Australians Luke Saville and Ben Mitchell which kicks off at 1pm.