(REUTERS) - Japan's Kei Nishikori survived his toughest test since his return to the ATP Tour, having to come back from behind to beat Radu Albot 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday (Feb 16) to reach the semi-final of the New York Open.
Playing in his first ATP tournament since August, Nishikori had enjoyed straight-set victories in the first two rounds before dropping the first set to the little-known Moldovan.
But the 28-year-old regained momentum in the match by controlling his serve and breaking Albot's service six times.
"It was a very tough start. I think he was playing very good tennis," Nishikori was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour website.
"During the second set I started getting my rhythm back and started playing a little more inside the baseline and everything started working well... (I'm) very happy to win today."
Nishikori will now face South African Kevin Anderson who overcame American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a two-hour battle.
In an earlier match, second seed Sam Querrey topped Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4).
He will meet Adrian Mannarino in the other semi-final, after the Frenchman overcame Spain's Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Nishikori suffered a right wrist injury in August, which forced him to miss last year's (2017) US Open and the Australian Open at the start of the season.
The former US Open finalist has since made his comeback to competition by playing in Challenger events.