Julien Benneteau upsets Marin Cilic to continue dream run at Paris Masters
French ATP tour veteran Julien Benneteau edged Croatia’s Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and keep alive his pursuit of a maiden singles title.The 35-year-old wildcard, who finished runner-up in 10 Tour-level finals between 2008 and 2014, can give himself an 11th chance at a title if he can defeat either American Jack Sock or Spain’s Fernando Verdasco on Saturday afternoon, reports Efe.The third-seeded Cilic appeared poised for a run at his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title after Spanish world No. 1 and top seed Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament on Friday with a knee injury, but Benneteau had other ideas.The Frenchman more than held his own in the service department, striking 12 aces to Cilic’s nine and also enjoyed a surprising amount of success in his return [email protected] is LIVING the dream.He’s into the semifinals of his last-ever #RolexPMasters.What. A. Night! ??? pic.twitter.com/nfUrUWIBU2- ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) November 3, 2017Benneteau took inspiration from a boisterous home crowd in grabbing service-break leads in both sets, but Cilic drew level both times.The first set was decided in a close tiebreaker after four service breaks, while Benneteau managed to break the Croatian’s serve a fourth time in the 12th game of the second set to clinch the victory.After wrapping up the win with a forehand winner, an emotional Benneteau fought back tears and lay sprawled out on the court while soaking in the crowd’s cheers.It’s only the beginning.#RolexPMasters pic.twitter.com/PQvjl9kHpoadvertisement- ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) November 3, 2017Cilic’s 32 unforced errors, 15 more than his opponent, proved to be his downfall in Friday night’s match.Benneteau’s victory, meanwhile, ensures that a there will be a new Masters 1000 champion and a first-time winner of this indoor hard-court event.Saturday’s first semi-final will pit big-serving American John Isner, a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 winner over Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, against Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic, who advanced to the final four due to Nadal’s injury withdrawal.