Sick Monfils battles to Rotterdam win over Rochus


Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:54

Gael Monfils overcame illness and a stern first-set challenge from Olivier Rochus to book his place in the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Frenchman, who revealed on Twitter that he felt sick on Tuesday before tweeting at 1am Wednesday morning that he was having trouble sleeping, scraped past the Belgian with a 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory.

And the world No.13 dismissed suggestions that he should be wary of revealing such details on the social networking site and risk being accused of aiding gamblers.

“I love to play tennis but I don’t think about it much off the court,” said Monfils. “I’m a 23-year-old person. What we do off court with Twitter or Facebook, it’s private life. I don’t even know all of the rules of tennis, I just play.”

Monfils overcame his sickly state and a perilously slow start to post just his second win over the world No.55 in five meetings with 19 aces and six breaks.

Next up for the No.4 seed is Dutch youngster Thiemo de Bakker, who beat him in a Davis Cup match last autumn.

I felt so-so on court,” admitted the Frenchman. “He played well in the first set, I was trying to get into the match. I took more risks to try for the win. I stayed calm and found a solution.

“I certainly didn’t feel 100%,” he added. “I tried to train last night but felt a fever. It was a big change from South Africa and 30 Celsius to minus-five here. I’m still sick but I hope to wake up better each day.”

Feliciano Lopez saw his SA Tennis Open bubble burst in rude style in Rotterdam by Nikolay Davydenko as the Russian posted a 6-4 6-2 victory.

The Spaniard, who titled for just the second time in his career in Johannesburg on Sunday, rarely looked like threatening the two-time semi-finalist despite his recent strong form.

And Davydenko had his own theories after posting just his second victory against the world No.33 in their past six meetings.

“It’s tough to make the change from Africa to here,” said Davydenko, who carried his strong 2009 form into 2010 by landing the Qatar Open. “It was always going to be difficult for him.

“Lopez tried to play like he did last week in South Africa. I was surprised – but I knew it wouldn’t work,” added the world No.6. “He also didn’t have enough preparation time to be able to play well on a new surface.

“I trained for four days here and the ball was hard for me to control from the baseline. It’s somehow much faster now.”

Davydenko will play former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis in the next round after the Cypriot came through in straight sets against James Blake 6-4 6-2.

Jurgen Melzer was handed an early finish to his encounter with No.8 seed Viktor Troicki when the Serb retired trailing 6-3 3-0 with a right arm injury.

Last week’s Zagreb finalist Michael Berrer won a massive first-set tiebreak on his way to victory over Arnaud Clement 7-6(16) 4-6 6-4.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.