World No.7 Tomas Berdych is continuing his impressive warm-up for next week’s Australian Open by booking his place in the final of the AAMI Classic.
The Czech, who finished third in the Kooyong tournament last year, swept aside Japanese world No.17 Kei Nishikori on Thursday 6-4 6-1.
He will play a Frenchman – Richard Gasquet or Gilles Simon – in the final on Saturday, with his opponent decided in Friday’s matches.
Berdych, who is also seeded seventh for the Melbourne Park grand slam, opened his tournament with a 7-5 6-2 win over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
He said he felt much more comfortable in his second match.
“I felt much better than yesterday; I’m hitting ball much smoother and cleaner and that’s what I need,” Berdych said.
Earlier, world No.8 Stanislas Wawrinka withdrew from the eight-man invitational field citing fatigue following his title win in Chennai last week.
Wawrinka, who won the Indian Open, has been replaced by 15th-ranked Russian veteran Mikhail Youznhy.
The Swiss faced Simon in his opening match and lost 4-6 7-5 6-3.