Tennis: David Goffin into Japan Open semi-finals after coming back to down Richard Gasquet

David Goffin returns a shot against Richard Gasquet during their men's singles quarter-final match of the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on Oct 6, 2017.
David Goffin returns a shot against Richard Gasquet during their men's singles quarter-final match of the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on Oct 6, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Tokyo (AFP) - Belgium's David Goffin battled back from a seemingly impossible first-set position against Frenchman Richard Gasquet on Friday (Oct 6) to reach the Japan Open semi-finals.

In a Franco-Belgian clash that served as a foretaste of next month's Davis Cup final, Goffin found himself 5-3 down and facing three set points against the former world No. 7 before coming through 7-5, 6-2 in Tokyo.

Goffin now faces eighth seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina, who put an end to the impressive run of world No. 46 Steve Johnson.

The American had caused the biggest surprise of the tournament so far by beating Austrian star Dominic Thiem in the first round, but he struggled on service against Schwartzman, facing 17 break points.

Next up was top seed Marin Cilic against American Ryan Harrison for a spot in the semi-finals.

Cilic's path to the final was made considerably easier after third seed Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw on Thursday with a calf injury, the latest blip in what the Canadian described as a "difficult and frustrating year".

The big-serving Croatian heads the Tokyo field this year at a tournament previously won by tennis greats such as Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.