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Showman Monfils sets up Gasquet clash

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Originally published on 30/08/14

Andy Murray is among those who consider Gael Monfils the greatest showman in tennis and the 27-year-old Frenchman gave the latest demonstration of his talents en route to his second-round triumph here at the US Open.

Monfils’ 7-5 6-3 6-2 victory over Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez was no more than would have been expected from the world No.24 against an opponent ranked 76 places beneath him, but one of his winners was exceptional even by his standards.

Monfils was a set and a break up at 1-0 and leading 40-15 when Gonzalez played a ball deep to the middle of the court. Taking his opponent completely unawares, Monfils leapt into the air and cracked an unstoppable forehand cross-court winner. The crowd erupted in delight, upon which Monfils milked their applause. The spectators on Grandstand Court were not the only ones to enjoy the moment.

Nick Kyrgios said on Twitter: “Just saw your jumping forehand winner. That was insane bro, don’t know how you do it.” Victoria Azarenka posted a photograph of the moment and sent a message which said: “G u fly for real”. She also referred to Monfils as “Migael Jordonfils”.

Gonzalez, who made his Grand Slam debut at this year’s Australian Open, pushed Monfils hard in the first set, but the 6ft 3in Colombian rarely looked capable of upsetting the No.20 seed. Monfils cracked 45 winners but also made 43 unforced errors and his 10 double faults will be of some concern.

The Parisian next plays his fellow Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, whom he has beaten in six of their previous 10 meetings. In seven previous appearances at the US Open Monfils has never gone beyond the quarter-finals, which he reached in 2010 before losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic. The former world No.7 has had a moderate summer since Wimbledon, losing to Djokovic in the second round in Toronto and to Roger Federer in the third round in Cincinnati.

 

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