Monfils Marches On In Monte-Carlo

Gael Monfils kept up his good form as he reached his third straight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final on Thursday at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The 13th-seeded Frenchman swept past Jiri Vesely 6-1, 6-2 in just 68 minutes, one day after the 22-year-old Vesely had recorded the biggest win of his career by stunning World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

“I played a good match,” said Monfils. “I was broken in the first game. He made good drop shots. He imposed a strange rhythm. That made me more tense. I didn’t expect drop shots that early in the match.

“But I was lucky to break him back immediately. Then we had some rallies. I was trying to hit to his forehand. He gave me many points on his forehand. He wasn’t at ease with that shot today.

“Of course, when you play a big match the day before, it’s always difficult to play again the next day. There are two solutions: either you play very well the next day or it’s very tough. I believe for him today it was not that good.”

Monfils has an 18-5 record in 2016, reaching the final in Rotterdam (l. to Klizan) as well as the quarter-finals at the Australian Open (l. to Raonic), Indian Wells (l. to Raonic) and Miami (l. to Nishikori).

The right-hander is bidding to reach the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the second year in a row, after beating Roger Federer en route to the final four last year (l. to Berdych). He goes on to face lucky loser Marcel Granollers.

Granollers has seized his opportunity after taking the place of the injured David Ferrer in the draw. The Spaniard battled past #NextGen star Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night and followed up with a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over 11th seed David Goffin.

The 30-year-old Granollers is through to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final since Rome 2013 (l. to Paire). The right-hander has a 3-1 head-to-head record over Monfils, whom he has beaten in their past three meetings.

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