Goffin fights back to down Gasquet in Tokyo, Cilic advances

Goffin now faces eighth seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina, who put an end to the impressive run of world number 46 Steve Johnson.

David Goffin of Belgium returns to Richard Gasquet of France during their men's singles quarter-final match of the Japan Open in Tokyo.   -  AFP

Belgium’s David Goffin battled back from a seemingly impossible first-set position against Frenchman Richard Gasquet on Friday to reach the Japan Open semi-finals.

In a Franco-Belgian clash that served as a foretaste of next month's Davis Cup final, Goffin found himself 5-3 down and facing three set points against the former world number seven before coming through 7-5, 6-2 in Tokyo.

Goffin now faces eighth seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina, who put an end to the impressive run of world number 46 Steve Johnson.

READ: Halep overhauls Kasatkina, closes on top spot

The American had caused the biggest surprise of the tournament so far by beating Austrian star Dominic Thiem in the first round but he struggled on service against Schwartzman, facing 17 break points.

Later, big-serving Croatian Marin Cilic sent down 11 aces as he took less than an hour to advance to the semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of American Ryan Harrison.

ALSO READ: Nadal sets up Dimitrov semi-final showdown

Top seed Cilic won a staggering 20 out of 21 points on first serve and faced no break points as he demolished Harrison, ranked 47 places below him in the world rankings, in 52 minutes.

The 29-year-old towering Croatian, runner-up to Roger Federer at this year's Wimbledon, faces the winner of Friday's last quarter-final match between local favourite Yuichi Sugita and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

ALSO READ: Chinese-speaking tennis umpires bring the house down

Cilic's path to the final was made considerably easier after third seed Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw on Thursday with a calf injury, the latest blip in what the Canadian described as a "difficult and frustrating year".

And Cilic will be hoping to go one better than last season in Tokyo where he lost in the semi-final to Belgium's David Goffin.