But Nishikori, who had lost nine consecutive ATP finals over 52 tournaments in almost three years, broke the Russian player's serve on four consecutive points in the final game to clinch the match in just 2 hours, 6 minutes, at Pat Rafter Arena.
Nishikori had not won a tournament since Memphis in 2016, and was hampered by a wrist injury the following year which forced a break from the 2018 tour. I felt there is no chance I can win this match.
"Today's match was nearly flawless, I would say".
The other semi-final will be contested by Naomi Osaka and Lesia Tsurenko after the US Open champion managed to grind out a three-set win over Anastasija Sevastova while the Ukrainian dispatched Anett Kontaveit in straights.
"I managed to come back in the second set, but he played wonderful and deserved it".
"Knowing I'm mentally and physically fresh that's when I'm playing my best".
"He played awesome", Medvedev said of Nishikori.
It was an ideal start to the New Year for the world number nine, which will put him in great heart for the Australian Open which starts a week on Monday.
"And he did really well the last game, I mean the 4-3 game".
"I think everything was against me today".
Chardy's high unforced error count (26-8) was also punished as Nishikori, who beat former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals, won through in 66 minutes.
"It was hurting a little bit, but I said, "just fight till the end".
"Everything was going well for me. So hopefully this isn't a recurring thing". With world No5 Juan Martin del Potro already announcing his withdrawal from the first Major of the year, that guarantees Nishikori one of the top eight seedings, a level that means he can not meet a higher-ranked man before the quarter-finals.
"This helpless feeling I have, I think today I learned what I have to do to, not fix it, but what I can do to improve the situation so there aren't many moments that I feel like that", the Japanese added.