Benneteau marches on
Originally published on 04/11/17 00:00
The 35-year-old, roared on by a partisan home crowd, recorded a stunning 7-6(5) 7-5 success over Marin Cilic to reach the semi-finals.
It’s the first time the veteran has ever registered two Top 10 wins in a tournament and he is the first Frenchman to reach the last four in Paris since 2012.
After slapping a forehand winner to seal another impressive victory, the Frenchman struggled to hold back tears as he soaked up the atmosphere and embraced family members.
Benneteau recently announced his decision to retire at some point in 2018, but he has proved this week that he can still mix it with the best and perform to a high level.
"I believe this win ranks quite high in everything I achieved in my career," said Benneteau afterwards. "When it's over, we'll see what will be the final ranking. It's a bit early to say, but, of course, individually, I believe it's my most beautiful emotion ever."
Benneteau’s victory over Cilic means a first-time Masters winner will be crowned on Sunday. The 35-year-old will challenge Jack Sock next, who overcame Fernando Verdasco in a feisty affair 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3.
The American, who reached the quarter-finals last year, will qualify for the World Tour Finals in London if he wins two more matches.