Mannarino stuns Cilic, reaches final

Adrian Mannarino of France celebrates after defeating Marin Cilic of Croatia at the Japan Open Tennis Tournament in Tokyo Saturday. — AFP

TOKYO — France’s 31st-ranked Adrian Mannarino secured a spot in the men’s singles finals as he overpowered top seed Croatian Marin Cilic at Japan Open Saturday.

Mannarino defeated big-serving Cilic, runner-up to Roger Federer at this year’s Wimbledon, with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-0 win in a fierce match which lasted for nearly three hours.

The 29-year-old Frenchman now faces Belgium’s David Goffin who beat Cilic in the semifinal in Tokyo last season.

Goffin, 26, booked a place in the finals after a tight two-hour match with eighth seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina.

Goffin finished off Schwartzman, who put an end to the impressive run of world No. 46 Steve Johnson Friday, with a 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (8/6) victory.

Both the first and second set went to a tie-break but the match ended when Schwartzman hit a backhand long of the baseline.

The Japan Open has been played since 1972 and its previous winners include a roll-call of the game’s greats, including Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Federer and Nadal.

Zverev seals ATP finals spot

World No. 4 Alexander Zverev has booked a spot in the ATP Finals in London for the first time after progressing to the China Open semifinals.

The 20-year-old has won five titles this year including the Italian Open and the Rogers Cup and joins world No. 1 Rafa Nadal and Swiss Roger Federer in the finals, with five spots yet to be decided.

“I think it’s great for any player to qualify for a prestigious event that we have in London,” Zverev said.

“It shows that you’ve been one of the best players, not only for one or two weeks in a year, but you’ve been one of the best players for the whole year.”

Zverev is the youngest player to progress to the finals since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008 and is the first German singles player to qualify since Rainer Schuettler in 2003. — Agencies