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Defending champ Kei Nishikori of Japan downs Michael Russell 6-3, 6-2 to reach Memphis final

  • 932f9dde7edbed064b0f6a7067000bed.jpg

    Kei Nishikori, of Japan, reaches for a return to Michael Russell, of the United States, in the semifnals at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)The Associated Press

  • 043d4d157edeed064b0f6a706700c94c.jpg

    Kei Nishikori, of Japan, hits a return to Michael Russell in the semifinal match at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)The Associated Press

  • cc58cf127edced064b0f6a7067000d6e.jpg

    Kei Nishikori, of Japan, hits a return to Michael Russell in the semifinal match at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)The Associated Press

Kei Nishikori of Japan will defend his title at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships after beating American Michael Russell 6-3, 6-2 Saturday in the semifinals.

Nishikori, who won his third career title here last year, needed only 63 minutes to advance despite trailing 1-3 to the 35-year-old American to open the match. Ranked 16th in the world, Nishikori will play either Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan or Ivo Karlovic of Croatia on Sunday.

The No. 1 seed broke Russell's serve to tie the first set at 3-3, and Nishikori broke the American again and served out to take the first set in 34 minutes.

Russell upset former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to reach only his third career ATP Tour semifinal. Unforced errors mixed with Nishikori's efficient serve kept Russell from what would have been his first final.