British number one Kyle Edmund missed out on what would have been his second ATP Tour final by losing to Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili at the China Open.
World number 16 and fifth seed Edmund was beaten 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in 98 minutes by the world number 34 in their semi-final Beijing.
Edmund lost his maiden ATP Tour final in Morocco in April.
Basilashvili will face Argentina’s world number four and top seed Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday’s final.
Edmund was playing his first competitive event since his US Open first-round loss in August, having endured a tough year because of illness, including recurring bouts of tonsillitis.
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Edmund, 23, was broken in the first game of the match, but hit back to lead 2-1 before Basilashvili required a short break for medical attention.
The Briton had two set points at 5-4 and another at 6-5, but on both occasions Basilashvili fought back to hold to eventually force the tie-break.
Edmund saved two set points in the tie-break to recover from 6-4 down having led 4-1, only for Basilashvili to seal the first set at the third time of asking with an ace.
Basilashvili, 26, raced into a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set with an early break of the Edmund serve.
The Georgian had his first match point at 5-2 on the Edmund serve but fired a return into the net to allow the Briton to eventually hold.
Edmund extended the match with a break of his own to get the set back on serve at 5-4.
But Basilashvili was not to be denied again as the Georgian sealed the win on his second of three match points on the Edmund serve in the 10th game.
Del Potro advanced to the final after Italy’s Fabio Fognini withdrew from their semi-final because of injury.
At the Japan Open, home favourite Kei Nishikori will face Daniil Medvedev in the final after beating France’s Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 in 89 minutes.
Japanese world number 12 Nishikori, who won the Japan Open in 2012 and 2014, is aiming to win his first ATP event since February 2016.
“I figured there might be a tiebreak in there,” said Nishikori, who has lost seven consecutive ATP finals, most recently to Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo in April.
“He’s such a dangerous opponent, but I stayed focused and found a nice groove.”
Russian qualifier Medvedev beat Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-3.