The US Open men's singles saw third seed Stan Wawrinka crash out in the quarterfinals at the hands of Kei Nishikori of Japan at the Arthur Ashe stadium on Wednesday.
In this extremely gruelling encounter of five sets, Nishikori had to summon every ounce of energy to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
Nishikori, with his win, is the first player from Japan in 81 years to find a place in the semifinal of a Grand Slam. Jiro Satoh reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1933.
"Very honoured to make the history. I always love to play here because I feel a little bit like home. It's very close to where I live," Reuters quoted Nishikori, who now lives in the United States.
Nishikori did not start the game well as Wawrinka raced off to a 3-0 lead in the opening set. Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, made it as hard for Nishikori as he possibly could. The Japanese player, however, was going to emerge triumphant in this match at any cost.
"It's great for my confidence, play two five-sets straight and a lot of 7-6 (tie-breaks). It was a tough game, especially after losing fourth set," said the Japanese.
The 24-year-old is no stranger to gruelling encounters in this US Open. He came into the match against Wawrinka after a four hour, 19 minute match against Canada's Milos Raonic. It is a testament to his will power and fitness that he had enough in the tank to withstand another arduous match again in the US Open.
"I was a little bit tired yesterday, but today was almost ... not 100 percent but close to feeling pretty good, my body,"Nishikori pointed out on Wednesday.
Even Wawrinka had more than a word of praise about the Japanese player's fitness levels.
"If even at the beginning he looks like he's going to die on the court, but he's there. Physically he's there," the Swiss said.
Wawrinka did have his moments in the game, however, Nishikori always fought back. In the fourth set tiebreak Wawrinka raced away to a 4-0 lead, only for the Japanese to somehow bring it back to 4-all. In the end it was Nishikori's never-say-die attitude that saw him prevail in this encounter.