September 8, 2015 / 11:35 PM / 4 years ago

Defending champ Cilic survives five-setter to reach semis

Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in five sets during their quarterfinals match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Defending champion Marin Cilic squandered three match points in the fourth set but came up strong in the fifth to beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and advance to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Tsonga saved two match points in the 10th game before holding for 5-5, and another in the 12th game to force a tiebreak that he won 7-3 to set up the climactic fifth set.

The ninth-seeded Croat raised up in the final set to break Tsonga at love for a 3-2 lead and served out the set, cashing in his fifth match point.

He won 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4 to advance to a semi-final against either top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia or Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

“It was a big mental fight, especially after losing that fourth set,” Cilic, who served 29 aces, told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd in an on-court interview after the four-hour long quarter-final.

“Physically, it was very demanding.”

Editing by Andrew Both

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