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Monfils keeps Finals hope alive in Sweden

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Originally published on: 21/10/11 10:05

There may be just eight tournaments left to complete on the calendar before the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals rocks up in London on November 20, but Gael Monfils kept his slender hopes of a spot in the eight man field alive after reaching the quarter-finals on his debut at the IF Stockholm Open.

The top-seeded Frenchman fired 18 aces en route to defeating Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-7(4) 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Kevin Anderson.

A spot in the last eight in Stockholm guarantees the charismatic Frenchman at least 45 ranking points, which will see him rise above Alexandr Dolgopolov to 14th place in the race for a place at the O2 Arena.

Monfils has three tournaments left to play in the 2011 season, although one includes the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris, where he will have plenty of points to defend after defeating Roger Federer last year for a spot in the final.

“I hope to finish the year very strong,” said the world No.10, who dug deep to defeat the rapidly rising 19-year-old Tomic.

“It was a tough battle tonight. He’s a good young player,” added Monfils, who hadn’t played since losing to Donald Young in the Thailand Open semi-finals after withdrawing from tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai with a knee injury.

“I needed time to adjust after time away. I had a big drop in the second set, but I’d been playing well until then.

“I need a few more matches before I can win in straight sets. I need to improve my concentration, but I did a pretty good job today.”

The draw in Stockholm is opening up nicely for Monfils. Second seed Juan Martin del Potro was beaten in his opening match on Wednesday while Stanislas Wawrinka bowed out in straight sets, not before furiously smashing a racquet near the end of the match, against two-time finalist Jarkko Nieminen.

Tobias Kamke, David Nalbandian, del Potro’s conqueror James Blake, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic make up the remaining names in the quarter-finals at the Kungliga Tennishallen.

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