Cape Town - Top seed Kei Nishikori advanced to the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel after defeating fourth seed Kevin Anderson 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Friday.
By reaching the final in Acapulco, the Japanese star will reach a new career-high in the Emirates ATP Rankings at World No 4. Should he win the Acapulco crown and Rafael Nadal fails to win the title in Buenos Aires, Nishikori will become the new World No 3.
On Saturday Nishikori will face second seed David Ferrer, who defeated American qualifier Ryan Harrison in an emphatic finish, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0, in one hour and 52 minutes. Nishikori leads Ferrer 7-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, handing the Spaniard his only defeat of the season so far when he won their most recent contest in straight sets in the Australian Open fourth round last month.
The 25-year-old Nishikori hit six aces and 29 winners in the semifinal match, which clocked in at just over two hours.
"I'm playing my game and it's going really well," said Nishikori. "I think my serve was much better in the third set and I was making a lot of returns. It was a tough match but I'm happy to make the final."
The 32-year-old Ferrer has opened 2015 with a 17-1 match record and will play for his third ATP World Tour title of the season on Saturday. The Valencia native lifted the Doha trophy in the first week of the season (d. Berdych) and last week triumphed on clay in Rio de Janeiro (d. Fognini).
Ferrer has won the title at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament three times before, when it used to be held on clay, in 2010-12; he also finished runner-up to Nadal in 2013. It is one of four events on the ATP World Tour that the right-hander has won three or more times (also Auckland - 4, Valencia - 3, Buenos Aires - 3).