French Open Day 8: Federer and Monfils Locked Up at a Set All

  • Play Delayed Due to Rain

Today play in Paris was delayed due to rain which meant that Roger didn’t get to finish his match with Monfils on court Chatrier. They were locked up at a set all after Roger won the first set 6-3 and Monfils came back to win the second 6-4 when play was suspended due to bad light. As if it’s not bad enough that the French Open doesn’t have a roof for center court, they don’t even have lights. The French Open definitely seems to be lagging behind the other slams is many ways. First it was the WTA match with some unreal choking in the second set that kept play waiting.

First it was the WTA match with some unreal choking in the second set that kept play waiting.

  • Tsonga’s Revival

Then it was Tsonga who choked against Berdych while serving for the match at 6-3, 6-2, and 5-4. He ended up losing the third set 7-5 in the tie-break and went a break down in the fourth as well. But to his credit he came back and won the fourth set 6-3. In the end, you can’t blame Tsonga for the slip-up in the third set because he still beat a top 10 player who’s on a good run in four sets. But hardly surprising given his history in Paris and how much he loves to play there. All of a sudden he is in the mix now as well.

He now plays Nishikori who hammered Gabashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 as expected. With the Paris crowd behind him I’d give him a very decent chance there too.

  • Stanimal is Back

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The man!

In the match I didn’t mention yet Stan smashed Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 which was great to see. The French crowd did their usual circus act to try and unnerve Stan, but he shut them out with a quick victory. Stan seems to be back in Stanimal mode which is always exciting to see. I hope to see a quarterfinal between him and Roger. They have never played in a slam since the arrival of Stan 2.0 other than Wimbledon last year which is Stan’s worst surface. I’d like to see them play on a slower surface, but Roger has loads of work left to do before that becomes a reality.

  • Federer Misses Opportunity

Roger got exactly the start he was looking for in this match as he broke Monfils in the second game and raced to a 3-0 lead. Then it was just a matter of holding serve to bag the first set. In the second set, they reversed roles as Monfils broke in the second game and raced to a 3-0 lead. He also got the crowd involved, who up until that time I wasn’t even sure who they supported. Monfils held on until 5-3 when he would serve for the set, but then choked horribly on a volley to go down 0-15.

That choke set the tone for the game as Roger broke to 15 with some great attacking play of his own. It was exactly what he wanted because he didn’t want Monfils and the crowd in the match. But after they changed sides Roger let a big chance slip on his own serve as he played a poor game and allowed Monfils to square things up at a set all before play was suspended. It’s hard to say how the break will affect either player. If you are a Fedfan you might say it will halt Monfils’ momentum.

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If you are a Monfils fan you will say it is to his advantage because he gets more rest after all the tennis he’s played and comes back refreshed. But whatever way you choose to look at it there is no doubt that Roger let an opportunity slip in the second set after doing the hard work to break back. Now he has a serious match on his hands. The match will likely go to five sets now. And that is not exactly what Roger wants before a quarterfinal with Stanimal on Tuesday. So if he wins he plays three days in a row.

The rain and lack of roof/lights didn’t help. Where his schedule seemed friendly with two days off before the semis it all of a sudden makes it hard to even get to the semis. But he has to make the best of that now and try to get the momentum back first thing tomorrow. It is now effectively a best of three set match, and it’s now even more important he wins the first set. Best case scenario he wants to be out of there after two sets to shut out the crowd. If it goes to five sets it gets more complicated.

  • The Rest of Tomorrow’s Action

Tomorrow is also when the top half play their fourth round matches and probably the most competitive match there will be Cilic against Ferrer. I expect Nadal and Djoker to win in straight sets, but some people seem to think Sock can make the match with Nadal competitive. We will see. The only way I see that happening is if Nadal drops below the level he displayed so far. Finally, Murray will be up against another Frenchman Chardy. Probably Chardy can win a set there at best.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

39 Comments

  1. I woke up this morning and got a half toasted French toast! Not good enough! Roger should have got 2 sets to love while The Clown was still sleeping.This is typical of Roger these days; hot and cold; and the first serve inexplicably go on vacation when he needs it. I think the break maybe good for Roger as it breaks Monfils momentum and Edberg gets a chance to teach Roger how NOT to miss a volley! But I’m not entirely sure because it effectively becomes a best of 3 sets now, Monfils gets some extra rest and Roger playing 3 days in a row, as you say, Ru-an. Again, Roger has to come out firing and not allow Monfils to wake up (read that Monfils hates morning matches) finish him off in 2 straight sets. Any other scenario would get very complicated. I watched a bit of the replay and my impression was Monfils and the crowd were sleeping in first set. Roger didn’t have to do a lot. If he doesn’t up his level, not only would he struggle against Monfils today, he may get slaughtered by Stanimal. Btw anyone watched Kei? Whew! Scary good. Just love his quickness/lightness and his shots which seem so lethal. I don’t think they are as powerful as Stan’s but they look more swift and ferocious than Stan’s. Why does that seem so, Ru-an? Is it because they are flatter?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, I know what you mean Veronica. It’s difficult to say really. It could be because they are flatter. Or more racquet head speed? Anyway, I like how both just pummel the ball.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yes, that’s it; Ru-an, the racket speed! Maybe also he takes the ball really early and hits it really flat. Stan’s are more like big and deep into court.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Maybe Stan plays with a heavier racquet too and needs less racquet head speed to generate power.

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    veronica Reply:

    Thanks, Ru-an, that makes sense, playing with a heavier racket! I’m learning! No wonder his balls are SO heavy!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Stan is a strong guy so I won’t be surprised if he plays with a heavier racquet. Nishikori is smaller but gives the ball a good pounding as well.

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    Vily Reply:

    I just looked at some stats and that made me feel better. Should Roger get though tomorrow he’ll know that he has 16:2 H2H with Stan and they have played here twice in 2010 and 2011 with Roger winning in straights. Stan is a different player from back then and since I didn’t get to see their match in Rome, I am not sure what to expect but I know that Roger is not planning on ONLY exchanging from the baseline. He has much more variety than Stan. Same goes for the Nishikori potential match. Roger is coming into the net more and that will be crucial against every opponent moving forward. All future opponents are now more consistent than Roger from the baseline. Roger obviously can still play from the baseline and shouldn’t shy away from it either. He just has to pick his spots and be patient and smart. The key will be his serve. If his serve is working he’ll be ok. I am just glad that even though he lost that second set he still is doing ok both 1st and 2nd serve points won. It’s all about the nerves. He’ll probably consider these two days of play as a Masters 1000 rounds. He played 2 sets yesterday and is now playing best of 3.

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    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, I love the pummelling too, especially Stan’s brand of pummelling! Gosh! he is such a bully!! You can literally feel the bullying going on the court! Ha! I think he whacks the ball harder and more consistently than Delpo/Soderling. However when an on song Roger neutralises Stan’s bullying, it is such a joy to watch too. Stan suddenly becomes a little boy, confused and rattled. But he has become a much bigger bully and Roger is finding it harder to “control” him these days.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, I love how he just pounds the crap out of the ball. What a beautiful sight. That WTF SF was good. Would love to see Roger come through the Monfils match. I have a feeling we won’t see Stank again like we did in Rome.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    How cool is this Stan the man though?

    B-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an! So cool! He is living up to his name, Stan, the MAN!! Love the part about did my job make it short match not too much match for too long!!! Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!!! Simon must be like %-(

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  2. I thought Roger was a tad nervous while making those volleys which otherwise he would have made nine out of ten. And the fading light did not help it much. As Veronica has pointed out, he has to finish it up in two straight sets today which I strongly believe he can. Monfills also did not look 100% physically and was not dominating Fed as he did in the previous two occasions in Davis cup and Monte Carlo. Fed just needs needs to keep his nerves. Hopefully there won’t be any piece of paper flying into the court when a point is on. Allez Suisse! :-bd

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    veronica Reply:

    That piece of paper, it changed the whole momentum! :-) And you got it, bro! He can’t afford to get nervous; especially as he is not really in form. He must take full advantage while Monfils is not at his best. Roger can play just 2 sets of focused aggressive tennis; can’t he? [-O< I have uncomfortable feeling he is letting Monfils get into his head a bit now; even Djoker. He used to play Djoker with an air, "I'm your daddy" and has no fear for him. But the last few encounters, I feel Djoker is getting a little into his head already. Dunno. It's just this mental thing that Roger is susceptible to. I pray and hope I am wrong and he makes at least semis. Allez Roger!!

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    Vily Reply:

    One match at a time, Veronica. One match at a time. All I know is that if Roger gets through it will give him confidence because he’ll be closer to the final. He hasn’t gone deep at the French since 2012 (when he won Wimbledon) so he’ll want to do something here. He’s not in dire straights like he was at the US Open. He just let his nerves affect him. The fact he took a rest, I think will help him. The only negative I suppose is that Monfils is serving first in the third. Roger will want to get a lead there and we’ll see how that goes. Let’s hope for a quick steamroll. ;-)

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Of course it is one match at a time, Vily, what makes you think I am looking ahead?! Aren’t we all talking about Monfils match?! ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘One match at a time, Veronica. One match at a time.’

    =)) Says the guy who is already talking about Roger’s matches with Stan and Nishikori when he’s not even beaten Monfils yet. Relax Vily. I’m sure Roger will get through Clownfils. Just gotta get it done in straight sets ;-)

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  3. Guys, we have to look and the cold facts. Roger got a great draw. He came in with decent form. With that being said, to be honest, there are several players that are looking better at this point. To be fair, Monfils was always considered to be the worst 4th round of all of them.

    So if Roger gets through, he’ll have an “easier” QF because he won’t have to play Djokovic, Nadal, Murray or Nishikori. BUT, Wawrinka will be fresh and he’ll impose his game on Roger.

    We’ll see. Somehow, if Roger gets through that 3 day session he’ll have that crucial 2 days to rest. By that time we’ll know if there’ll even be a point moving forward – if Djokovic beats Nadal or not.

    Anyway, in terms of time spent on court. I think that playing only an hour yesterday and potentially playing for another 60-90 minutes tomorrow won’t be too taxing. So we’ll see…

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  4. Hey guys, what’s up?? I am back from having a weekend full of crappy internet connections (only a weekend, but seems longer) :-)

    Good post Ru-an. And…yep. Jo Willy…. beating everyone silently, under the radar. Will be a very exciting match against Nishi. Today I think Novak and Rafa will get through in straights. Ferrer’s and Murray’s matches will be more difficult, but they will get through. Cilic is suddenly playing lights out tennis again. So is Stan. Ofcourse right before his match with Roger…..but no worries.

    I don’t mind that Roger has to play 3 matches in a row. Stan had to do that too at Wimby last year and I think Rafa also had to do that one year at USO. So maybe it is Roger’s turn now.

    I do think Roger was nervous last night, but I don’t think he will be nervous today. He doesn’t want to lose to Monfils 3 times in a row. That is for sure !!! Lets see how Monfils uses the crowd today. Fortunately the crowd is respectful to Roger. BUT… Roger HAS to win the first set, otherwise it will get more and more difficult.

    Come on Roger, I will nervously and sweatingly follow live score :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Katyani. Good call about Tsonga. Roger cruising so far. Clownfils being true to his name :o)

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    Katyani Reply:

    Oh how nice would it be to have a emoji of a clown :)) Hope someone does that !!
    Hey Ru-an, as much as I love all the posts you are making…hope you hear something about a job very soon….

    And Roger vs Stan…. wow…. both would deserve it equally. I do have a favourite though :-) Nishi also looks dangerous. So do Novak and Rafa. Ferrer seems to be cruising too…

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    Veronica Reply:

    Just what the doctor ordered!! Straight sets!! Thank you Roger! He set the tone when he broke Monfils in the first game after the clown was up 40-0. And when he saved break point after Monfils threatened to break back at 3-4, I was confident he was gonna bring it home. Monfils, as always, didn’t disappoint….there were some serious clowning in the second set…… :-) didn’t see the stats but I’m sure they are good. Good thing he didn’t expend too much energy. From here onwards it could be 5 setters all the way. C’mon Roger!!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Well Sis, stats are pretty good. 41 winners and 35 UFEs. Most impressive was the 64% success rate on the second serve as well as on the net (exactly 25 out of 39 on both fronts). I really liked his aggressive state of find which was the key for this massive win. He did not not give Monfils the slightest chance to involve the crowd; the only sniff he had was when Fed was 30-40 down at 4-3. But Fed shut off the crowd with that massive serve at the corner. He utilised the pace of Monfils’ shots really well; didn’t try to force the pace. Instead, he used his pace to create the angle without generating his own pace. Overall, quite an outstanding performance in the wake of the recent sequence of matches against Monfils. I have a feeling that he will at least reach the last two. Go Roger Go! :)>-

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks bro! You know the game so well! Your observations are very accurate and I really like reading them! Yeah, I was so happy that he defended his second serve well which he hadn’t been doing recently. And he did not allow the crowd to get involved. Gosh they must have felt so stifled. But it’s a curious case Roger and French crowd because they really love Roger, treat him almost as their son, would support him against anyone, but when it comes to their players, they are so torn. You can sense they wanna support their own, yet they feel almost embarrassed to not support Roger! Ha! Roger’s game is about dominating and dictating. He always wins when he is able to do that. That’s why I was so NOT happy when he allowed Monfils to break back and win the second set. Thank God he was super focused, disallowing the clown and the crowd to do anything without his permission!! And thus the rot of losing to the clown 3 in a row came to a beautiful end!! Sunshine was in heaven on Sunday, bro!!! :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    “there were some serious clowning in the second set”

    Yep, I heard the clown even tried a mto, but…. I guess Roger is getting used to that and he shut him up. But it was so good to see that Roger got as much as crowd support as Monfils. Loved the fact that the crowd began to clap when the announcer was naming Roger’s accomplishments :-bd

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Yeah, loved that too, Kat, the French can’t stop loving Roger, can they?! I was prepared for a bit of hostility towards Roger in Monfils match judging from how they treated poor Cuevas but the crowd was, on the whole, rather muted. It’s as if they are confused who to support!! Btw, Remember Roger made that comment, “all we need is a clown for this circus?” Well, it seems he got his wish. He got The Clown for 2 consecutive days!!! He should try to wish more!! :-)

    [Reply]

  5. Nice one Fed. Ru-an did you mention already that Djokovic has the best draw of all? He has a much better chance of winning the French open if he meets Nadal in
    the quarters as oppose to the finals.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not exactly Cornel. He has the toughest draw of all but yeah it’s probably better if he faces Nadal in the QF as opposed to SF or F.

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    Cornel Reply:

    Yes, toughest of course. But he is probably the only guy that can beat Nadal and the earlier they meet the better for Djokovic. So in that light he actually has the best draw possible (even if it looks unbelievably tough by first glance).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, I see your point now. In that sense, he has the best draw. But it would have helped if Murray was in the other half. That said, Murray is in a tough battle right now with Chardy and could lose. That’s the thing with draws. It hardly ever works out the way you expect it to. But yeah beating Nadal, Murray, and Fed/Stan/Nishikori in succession could be too much even for Djokovic, because if he beats Nadal it is likely it will be another 5 set marathon that will exhaust Djokovic.

    [Reply]

  6. Great work and focus from Federer. CAme out early, was down 40-0 on Monfils serve first game, and then broke him with some very methodical groundstrokes. He faced one break point on the way but saved it with a great serve. There was one point where Monfils had a run of 6 or 7 points in a row and it looked like a comeback would happen but Federer held.

    I only got to see the very end of the 4th set, but it looks like Federer was in control and won it straightforwardly.

    Miserably he plays tomorrow though so it’s a bad break for him. But he didn’t waste too much energy and it should be good confidence-wise. Against Stan Roger is the defender, not the aggressor.

    My only fear is that against an attacker like Stan you can sit back and just wait for him to hit errors, but if he gets in the zone (and it looks like he is in the MAN zone now) you can get killed on a slow surface where he has time to set up those huge groundstrokes. No weak wing on Stan…

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  7. Fantastic finish today for Federer. He did what he was supposed to do, stayed focused and clinical and kept the crowd out of it. He broke Monfils in the opening game of each set before the Frenchman could gather his wits about him, and his serve was firing at last, so that he could stay ahead in the score more easily. Lots of variety too, great net play and a lot of slice to move Monfils around and keep him guessing, along with some lovely drop shots.

    I’m feeling much more hopeful about Federer’s chances, he played great tennis today when he needed it. Two sets per day for two days in a row isn’t really that bad. I suppose Federer can compensate by cutting down on his practice sessions. Wawrinka will be a tough man to beat, but I think Federer is up to the challenge and won’t be unduly exhausted.

    Meanwhile, Chardy has come alive and leveled the match against Murray. Not sure if he has enough left to win, but at least he has a chance to make things interesting.

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  8. Ru-an, just discovered that Roger eliminated the “caterpillar shirt” player, Monfils, quite nicely. Bravo, Roger, onto to the next match! Good work, Ru-an, on keeping us posted on all matches going on.
    Cheers,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

  9. Hi, guys! Sorry for coming “late” to the party. Looks like I missed the action. Meant to wake up to watch but then I fell asleep again and when I looked up, I saw the scoreline and I was relieved. Fed Express did impress. As Steve mentioned, I suppose Roger can cut his practice sessions today and then he’ll be in tip top shape for tomorrow. As Veronica mentioned, I guess Roger needs to neutralize Stan’s bullying and win SMART and not hard. No need to get involved in pointless “show” of power. The 16:2 head 2 head obviously reflects that so I hope that Roger will get it done in 4. It seems to me that the 1st set is always of paramount importance for all his remaining matches moving forward. It will set the tone. And Roger is a much better front runner than a someone that finds his way back in matches.

    With that being sad, Stan did jump on Roger in Rome before inexplicably just going away. I jus don’t get it. I doubt that it will happen again here. Roger just needs to play with Variation and not settle for just enhancing with the Stanimal from the baseline… :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    ” Fed Express did impress” haha, nice one Vily ;))

    [Reply]

  10. Sock wins a tough third set! I was thinking that a tie break in one set was the best we could hope for..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Actually it would have been 3, 1, and 4 if Nadal only held serve at 5-4 in the third set. But he has clearly declined. Good signs :D

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    I wasn’t able to watch Nadal-Sock due to work requirements, so I didn’t know how lucky Jack got in the third.

    But it’s good to hear Nadal is still not at his best, and in fact is moving in the opposite direction! And I’m glad he had to work for an extra set too, but he and Djokovic will still be about equally fresh in the QF.

    It could be a struggle worth watching! I hope I get to see some highlights anyway.

    I really like your clown icon btw!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Cool, Joe. I will make a post now which you can check out later :o)

    [Reply]

  11. Very nice finish for Federer this morning, I look forward to seeing his match against Stan tomorrow. It may not be such a big deal if it goes 4 sets or even 5 sets, as the winner doesn’t play again till Friday, so there should be enough rest :-)

    I’m also very impressed with Novak. He’s not let the pressure get to him at all and has quickly seen off his first 4 opponents, the latest victim being Gasquet, brutally beaten 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. He has been serving and returning very well (only lost 3 service games in the whole tournament). I think Becker has helped Novak work on his 2nd serve quite a bit and it’s become visibly more threatening. Based on current form, I would definitely pick Djokovic over Nadal. It’s expected to be overcast as well on Wednesday, so conditions should help him. Of course, the first set is important as well – if Novak wins the first set, that will really help him take charge of the match. Otherwise Nadal will gain more confidence – he played a poor 3rd set today against Sock, but did show flashes of great play.

    Meanwhile, let’s not forget Tsonga vs Nishikori and Murray vs Ferrer, both of which have the potential to be 5-set thrillers! Tsonga has been impressive so far, and I think he could definitely push or even beat Kei if he brings his A game. Murray may not have beaten Ferrer on clay before, but something tells me this could change on Wednesday.

    [Reply]

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