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By Chris Oddo | Friday April 20, 2018

Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev booked their places in the last four at the prestigious Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with three-set wins on Friday.

More: Nadal Crushes Thiem, Sets Dimitrov Clash

Nishikori reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal in nearly two years by edging No.2-seeded Marin Cilic in a tricky encounter, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3. Nishikori looked to be rolling to a straight-sets victory when Cilic stopped the match to see the trainer for a knee issue early in the second set. At the time Cilic held a break lead but he quickly surrendered it and later had to kill off three match points before winning a tiebreaker to force a decider.

But Cilic continued to battle and eventually started to feel better and move better.

Meanwhile Nishikori stayed the course and even as he was pushed he eventually outlasted Cilic in the decider with some of his steadiest tennis of the week. Nishikori has been forced to three sets on three occasions this week at Monte-Carlo and he hasn’t lost more than three games in a decider.

It's a great sign for a player that is still seeking form after missing the season's first two month due to a right wrist injury.

Nishikori will face another three-set maven in Saturday’s semifinals.

That would be Alexander Zverev, who won an epic battle with Richard Gasquet, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, to secure his first trip to the last four at Monte-Carlo on his 21st birthday. It was a knock-down drag-out battle with the Frenchman that featured a plethora of lung-busting rallies and 16 breaks of serve.

Gasquet had the break and a 4-3 lead in the decider but even his most inspired tennis wouldn’t be enough to deter Zverev, who won four of the final five games and dropped to the clay in relief when he finally secured his victory in two hours and 39 minutes.

Zverev has won three three-setters in succession to get to the semis.

Earlier today, Rafael Nadal walloped Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 to set a semifinal with Grigor Dimitrov. Nadal is in wicked form in the principality, and he stretched his run of consecutive sets won on clay to 32 with his win. Dimitrov will have his hands full with a player that has defeated him ten times in 11 lifetime meetings. The fourth-seeded Bulgarian improved to 7-1 lifetime against David Goffin with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over the No.6 seed.


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