The world No. 9 won 6-2 6-2 at Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday to set up a decider against Daniil Medvedev or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he bids for his first title in nearly three years.
And the victory had the added bonus for Nishikori of cementing his place at No9 just ahead of the draw for the Australian Open.
It has been a confidence boosting few months for a player who ended his 2017 season in August due to a wrist injury, did not play again on a main-tour match until last February, and fell to No39 in rankings last April, his lowest since October 2011.
Japan's Naomi Osaka lamented her poor attitude following a straight sets thrashing by Lesia Tsurenko in the Brisbane International semifinals but the US Open victor said defeat came with a valuable lesson.
It is the flawless start to 2019 for Pliskova, who is still chasing her first Grand Slam title, and she said Stubbs had a lot to do with her ability to recover.
Nishikori said he was pleased with his form heading into the Australian Open, where he has never progressed further than the quarterfinals.
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Tsurenko took the first set in 38 minutes, firing 10 winners and making 81 percent of her first serves. "I served well, I returned well - I think that was the key today - and I was moving well, that was fantastic".
Although Medvedev broke back to 5-2, the Russian's resistance was broken when Nishikori flashed a backhand passing shot past his left shoulder, allowing him to celebrate with his 12th career title after 51 events without success.
"To win the tournament is very emotional".
"I'm hoping to get back on court in maybe two days", Tsurenko said last night.
"I always start with this tournament and Melbourne, [but I] couldn't make it past year". I couldn't make it a year ago, so I had to start at some ATP Challenger events. "It was good tennis and I'm just really happy with the way I played".
Nishikori, who last won a Tour title in 2016, made light work of his opponent 6-2 6-2 in the day session.