Nishikori ousts Cilic to set up Zverev semi-final

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori defeated Marin Cilic in three sets to set up a semi-final meeting with Alexander Zverev at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nishikori has only just returned to the big leagues after making his comeback from a right wrist injury.

The Japanese star started his 2018 season on the Challenge Tour to ease his way back into competition, but he has wasted little time in re-adjusting to the highest level, despite only being ranked 36th in the world.

On Friday, he faced one of his biggest challenges since his return in second seed Marin Cilic, but passed it with flying colours.

Nishikori took the first set courtesy of a solitary break before losing a tightly contested second in a tie-break. 

The third set again came down to a single break which went Nishikori's way, allowing him to close out a 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3 victory shortly after.

Awaiting Nishikori in the semi-finals is another tough challenger in third seed Alexander Zverev.

The young German narrowly advanced after edging a tight contest against local favourite Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet did superbly to take the first set, and was right in the contest during a hard-fought third set that featured no less than seven breaks of serve.

In the end, Zverev was able to clinch his fourth break of the set at 5-6 to claim a 4-6, 6-2 , 7-5 victory.

Saturday's other semi-final sees top seed and World No 1 Rafael Nadal take on fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov. The pair won their quarter-final match-ups earlier in the day, Nadal dispatching Dominic Thiem and Dimitrov defeating David Goffin.