Monfils Storms Past Dimitrov
Gael Monfils surged into the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semi-finals on Friday as he dismissed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3.
Just a day earlier, Monfils had recorded his biggest win of the season over World No. 2 Roger Federer, while Dimitrov came into the contest also in good form, having swept past defending champion Stan Wawrinka for the loss of just three games.
But a spate of unforced errors proved costly for Dimitrov as he struggled to find top form in the second match of the day. The first set lasted just 22 minutes, with Monfils capitalising on 22 unforced errors from Dimitrov to break serve three times. The 14th seed swiftly established a 5-2 lead in the second set and went on to close out victory in 58 minutes.
“I am just very happy. Very happy,” said Monfils. “For sure I am surprised because it is not a period where I played my best tennis so far. I’m just happy. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be ready physically because I feel a bit tired. But should be fine, I hope.
“Today, I wanted to make him run a lot, left right, left right, left right, a lot of points, then I tried to dictate with my forehand, move him around the court, short, back. I was trying to play very deep and very high and heavy to tell him, ‘Grigor, you need to stay back.’ At that time it allowed me to dictate the points and make him run left and right.”
The 28-year-old Monfils is through to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final since reaching the final of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris Bercy five years ago. On that occasion, he finished runner-up to Robin Soderling.
The right-hander is bidding to reach his second final of the season, after losing out to Gilles Simon in the Marseille title match. He has a 16-5 record on the year.
Monfils will look to overturn a 1-5 record against Tomas Berdych in Saturday’s semi-finals, having already lost to the Czech twice this year.
“I must find the right tactics to neutralise his game because he gives me a lot of trouble,” said Monfils. “I’m never able to control him. I hope I’m going to play well tomorrow. It’s been a long time that I haven’t been feeling so good, and mentally I feel good, too.”