Nishioka ends Kovacevic's dream debut to set up Shapovalov final in Seoul

Yoshihito Nishioka followed up a claiming a series of scalps by avoiding a shock of his own as he defeated ATP Tour main-draw debutant Aleksandar Kovacevic to reach the Korea Open final.

Nishioka, who will return to the ATP's top 50, eliminated fifth seed Dan Evans in the first round and later top seed Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Kovacevic made his main-draw bow on Monday, beating seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic, and continued a sensational run all the way to the last four.

The American threatened another upset on Saturday, but Nishioka held his nerve to advance 6-3 4-6 6-3 in Seoul.

And now the Japanese will revert to the role of underdog on Sunday, with fourth seed Denis Shapovalov his opponent in the championship match.

Nishioka has only one ATP Tour title to his name, and he will have his work cut out if he is to add to that against Shapovalov, who is yet to drop a set this week.

The Canadian continued that sequence with a 7-5 6-4 success against Jenson Brooksby in the first semi-final.