Nick Kyrgios has kept alive his hopes of qualifying for the ATP finals by beating Alexander Zverev to reach the final of the China Open in Beijing.
The in-form Canberran prevailed 6-3 7-5 to set up a clash with world No.1 Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s decider.
Kyrgios has won nine of his last 11 matches and dropped just one set en route to the final where he’ll look to repeat his quarter-final victory over Nadal in Cincinnati Open in August.
The 22-year-old’s victory moved him to 15th spot in the ATP Race To London with the top 10 players qualifying for the prestigious end of season event in November.
However, with Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who are all ranked above Kyrgios, ruled out due to injury, he can put himself in genuine contention for a maiden appearance in the London showpiece with a third career win over the Spanish great.
Zverev sealed his spot in London on Friday, but was on the back foot throughout as the world No.19 dominated the first set.
He then hurled down seven aces in the second to chalk up a third victory in four previous encounters with the 20-year-old German.
Nadal beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in his semi-final to reach his ninth final of the year.
The 16-time grand slam winner won 13 consecutive points on his own serve and broke Dimitrov to seal the first set in 35 minutes.
Nadal led the second 3-1 but Dimitrov fought back to level at 4-4 before clinching the set.
Bulgarian Dimitrov’s eye-catching shots were not enough to overcome the 31-year-old, however, and Nadal broke serve three times in the deciding set.