Monfils stages remarkable comeback
Originally published on 09/08/17 00:00
The mercurial Frenchman saved four match-points in an unforgettable deciding set tiebreak as he stunned his Japanese rival to maintain his involvement in the competition.
The 30-year-old’s next opponent will be Roberto Bautista Agut, who enjoyed a comfortable 7-5 6-2 success over Ryan Harrison.
"It's a good victory for many reasons," said Monfils. "It's a big revenge, because last year around this time I had the same thing actually happen against Kei. I was up 6-2 in the tiebreak in the Olympics – in the quarter-finals – and I lost the tiebreak, so I know exactly what he feels."
After edging a lengthy opener in a tiebreak by seven points to four, Nishikori looked set to maintain his perfect record against his French opponent. Monfils, at times, meandered around the court in discomfort and his problems only mounted in the second set.
The world No.9 had an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3, but unforced-errors plagued his game and he gifted his opponent a route back into the contest. The Frenchman took full advantage of his rival’s inexplicable collapse, and he won five games on the bounce to take the match the distance.
Nishikori regrouped in the third set and earned another opportunity to serve for the match – but he faltered again. Monfils’ outrageous defensive skills combined with his renewed attacking intent proved to be an irresistible force – and he somehow forced an unlikely third set shootout.
The Frenchman, who had won only two previous matches against top 10 players after conceding the first set, unleashed an avalanche of forehand winners to wrestle control and eventually complete an astonishing comeback.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Denis Shapovalov toook down the 'Tower of Tandil' to record the biggest win of his career. The nerveless 18-year-old thrilled the specators on Court Central as he overcame Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 7-6(4).
Robin Haase overcame Ernesto Escobedo 6-4 6-1, Kevin Anderson, who reached the final of the Citi Open last week, dispatched Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 7-6(6) and Grigor Dimitrov edged out Mischa Zverev 6-3 3-6 6-3.