Cilic Leads Three Seeds Into Tokyo Semi-finals
Top-seeded Marin Cilic leads a crop of three seeds into the semi-finals of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships on Saturday, with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino attempting to spoil the party. At the end of the weekend, one member of the semi-final quartet will earn their first Rakuten Japan Open title in Tokyo.
Cilic, Mannarino and No. 8-seeded Diego Schwartzman have shown good form by now dropping a set yet this week. But with an ATP World Tour final on the line, anything can happen.
In the opening match on Colosseum, 2016 finalist David Goffin, the No. 4 seed, brings a 2-1 head-to-head record on hard courts against Schwartzman, who is the first Argentine to reach the Tokyo semi-finals since Juan Martin del Potro won the title in 2013 (d. Raonic). The 26-year-old Belgian comes in on a seven-match winning streak after earning his third career ATP World Tour title in Shenzhen last Sunday.
Schwartzman is making his second semi-final appearance of the season, and his first since Istanbul in May. The Argentinian is trying to advance to his third career ATP World Tour final (1-1), having won his maiden title in Istanbul last year.
The match has plenty of importance for the Emirates ATP Race To London, in which Goffin has moved to No. 11, just 15 points behind Sam Querrey, who holds the final spot due to the seasons of Stan Wawrinka (No. 7) and Novak Djokovic (No. 9) ending prematurely due to injury.
In the next match on, Cilic looks for his second win against Mannarino, who is appearing in his second semi-final of the season.
Cilic, who won the pair’s only previous meeting in three sets, is making his second straight semi-final appearance in Tokyo. It is the Croat’s first semi-final since July, when he reached the Wimbledon final (l. to Federer). Cilic is trying to reach his 31st career final as he pursues his 18th ATP World Tour title, which would make him the first player from Croatia to earn the trophy.
Mannarino is trying reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season (Antalya in July), which would provide him an opportunity to win his first title.
In the lone doubles semi-final, the Japanese wild card pairing of Ben Mclachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama, the first-time semi-finalists who upset US Open champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, take on the first-time duo of Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Julio Peralta of Chile. No. 2 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares await the winner in Sunday’s championship match.