WATCH: Gael Monfils acrobatic smash attempt on way to 15th win of 2021
Gael Monfils displayed his trademark showmanship to clinch a 15th win of a difficult and inconsistent season this year.
The world number 18 faced South African former world number five Kevin Anderson in the third round of Indian Wells.
After a tight back and forth holding serve until 4-4, Monfils managed to break for a chance to serve out the opening set.
At 30-30, the Frenchman set Anderson up for what looked to be a put-away smash. But the speed and athleticism of Monfils meant the cause was not lost as he got a racket to the ball.
The smash hit from metres behind the baseline so nearly sailed in for an astonishing winner.
While Monfils did not make the shot, and was subsequently broken, he did eventually win the first set 7-5. A more straightforward second set saw the 35-year-old clinch a double break and seal the match 7-5, 6-2.
OMG if this shot was in… 😳@Gael_Monfils
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) October 13, 2021
His win now means that Monfils holds a 15-15 record in 2021, the first time his wins have caught up with his losses in the year.
Monfils has never recorded a season with more losses than wins since turning pro in 2004. He came closest to such a season in 2007, ending with a win-loss record of 21-21.
The victory over Anderson nudges the veteran back in the right direction to continue the streak to 18 seasons.
However, Monfils will have a tough test to push wins ahead of losses. He now faces world number four Alexander Zverev in the fourth round.
The German has lost just one match since Wimbledon in July, claiming Olympic singles gold and the Cincinnati Masters in that time.
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