Julien Benneteau continued his Cinderella run at the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters on Friday, as he beat Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals in two sets. The scores were 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Rafael Nadal dropped out of the tournament due to injury, sending qualifier Filip Krajinovic straight into the semi-finals.
For the full results and updated draw, visit Tennis.com.
Isner and Del Potro served up a spectacular contest to start things off on Friday, with a ticket to the ATP Finals potentially at stake. The in-form Isner ended up taking the match thanks to some heroics on his serve in the final set, but the contest could have gone either way.
As shared by TennisTV, the American took a major step toward Finals qualification in the process:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
Juan Martín del Potro’s thrilling race to London is over, but @JohnIsner's is very much alive in Paris! #RolexPMasters https://t.co/0bWoBxsEcl2017-11-3 15:36:57
Del Potro told reporters he won't be going to London under any circumstances, per sports writer Carole Bouchard:
Carole Bouchard @carole_bouchard
Del Potro says he won't go to London even as alternate : "no no no, I go home", with a smile.2017-11-3 15:30:12
A surging Benneteau won the second match of the night, a thrilling back-and-forth with Cilic. The Frenchman took an early lead with a quick break before falling behind in the first set but managed to battle his way back to force a tie-break.
Benneteau's serve served him well in that decider and he rode his momentum to an even better showing in the second set, as he grew more comfortable from the baseline and in the rallies.
The fan favourite held on for an unlikely win, and per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, yet another upset was in line with what we've come to expect in Paris:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
We'll have a new Masters champ in Paris: Krajinovic, Isner, Benneteau, Verdasco, or Sock. Retro Bercy back to its random result roots.2017-11-3 20:49:30
In Friday's final match, Verdasco ran out to an immediate lead with a break in the second game, but Sock broke back in the fifth. The first set eventually went to a tie-break, where Verdasco dominated to gain the advantage.
But Sock came out firing in the second set, grabbing an immediate break of his own. The American controlled the rallies and closed the set out with another break, giving himself the chance to start on serve in the third.
That proved to be vital, as another early break effectively gave him a three-game buffer that appeared to crush Verdasco's spirit. Sock cruised to the finish line from that point.