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By Tennis Now | Friday, April 20, 2018

Gripping rallies spilled all over the court of a rousing two-and-half hour Monte-Carlo quarterfinal.

Alexander Zverev found a sliver of light down the line to end an evening battle with a brilliant birthday bang.

Watch: Nadal Thrashes Thiem

Celebrating his 21st birthday in style, Zverev zapped a backhand pass capping a riveting 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 triumph over Richard Gasquet to charge into Monte-Carlo semifinals.

Zverev fell flat on his back in celebration of an exhilarating thrill ride of match culminating with one wild all-court match point that began on a Gasquet serve-and-volley.

Withstanding some tremendous shotmaking from the veteran Frenchman, Zverev advanced to his third semifinal in his last four tournaments.

Gasquet, who made history as the first Frenchman to earn 500 career victories yesterday, created audacious angles with his brilliant one-handed backhand while Zverev thumped his two-hander with vigor.

The result was explosive rallies like this one.

A coming-of-age conquest sends Zverev into tomorrow's semifinal against Kei Nishikori.

The 36th-ranked Nishikori showed his resilience outdueling Marin Cilic, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3.

In a rematch of the 2014 US Open final, Nishikori served for the match at 5-4 in the second set only to see Cilic fight off three match points to break back. 

The second-seeded Croatian powered through the tie break to force a decider. 

Despite his match-point misses, including a double fault, Nishikori dug in and played a decisive final set. Playing deep crosscourt combinations and driving the ball down the line with authority, Nishikori broke in the eight game and served out a two-hour, 54-minute win.


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