Nikoloz Basilashvili, of Georgia, returns a shot to Mikhail Kukushkin in a semifinal at the Memphis Open tennis tournament Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey
February 18, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-1 on Saturday in the Memphis Open semifinals to reach his second career final.

Basilashvili, 24, will play Donald Young or Ryan Harrison on Sunday at The Racquet Club. Basilashvili needed 1 hour, 46 minutes to reach his first final since 2016 Kitzbuehel, and he advanced by attacking Kukushkin's serve and eventually wearing him down.

Kukushkin broke Basilashvili's serve to go up 2-0 only to be broken himself. Basilashvili took the first set in the tiebreaker after Kukushkin held serve on nine break points. Basilashvili went up 6-4 in the tiebreaker with a backhand winner into the corner, then won set point when Kukushkin hit into the net.

Ranked 67th in the ATP rankings, Basilashvili then broke Kukushkin to go up 2-0 in the second set and again to take a 5-1 lead before holding serve for the match.

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