TOKYO: Unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino upset top seed Marin Cilic 6-7(5) 6-4 6-0 in the Japan Open semi-finals on Saturday to reach his first ATP 500 final.
Mannarino, 29, will face fourth seed David Goffin after the in-form Belgian eked out a 7-6(3) 7-6(6) victory over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the first semi-final.
In a fiercely-contested match, Cilic’s powerful groundstrokes gave him a 5-3 lead in the first set but Mannarino fought back to force a tiebreak, which the Frenchman led 4-2 before losing five of the next six points.
Mannarino took advantage of Cilic’s weaker backhand to take a 5-3 lead and although he lost his next service game, the 29-year-old broke the Croatian’s serve to win the second set.
Mannarino won seven straight games to beat world number five Cilic and secure his first win over a player ranked in the world’s top-five.
Goffin and Schwartzman both saved break points as the first set went to a tiebreak and with the score tied at 4-4, the eighth-seeded Schwartzman made three straight errors to gift his opponent the set.