Monfils Wins Twice To Reach Washington Quarters
Washington, Aug 5: Top-seeded Gael Monfils won two matches on Thursday, beating Ryan Sweeting then Dmitry Tursunov, to progress to the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Classic.
Monfils was among several players who were forced to play both their second and third-round matches on the same day due to rain curtailing play on Wednesday.
The Frenchman downed American Sweeting 6-3, 7-6 (3) and had a very similar scoreline against Russian Tursunov, winning 6-2, 7-6 (9).
His opponent in the quarterfinals will be Serbian No. 6 seed Janko Tipsarevic, who also got through two straight-sets matches, beating Germany's Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-4, then Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2.
The other player to win twice was seventh-seeded Marcos Baghdatis, though the Cypriot had to labor through six sets to down Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 0-6, 7-5 and Thomaz Bellucci 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Baghdatis—last year's beaten finalist—will next face American Donald Young, who beat compatriot Michael Russell 6-3, 6-3, giving a hint he may finally be ready to deliver on the great promise he showed as a junior.
Tursunov, Dimitrov and Bellucci also played twice. Tursunov had beaten Italian Flavio Cipolla 6-1, 6-4 in his initial match; Dimitrov progressed from the early match when Michael Llodra retired with a rib injury while trailing 4-3 in the first set; while Brazil's Bellucci had beaten Tommy Haas 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3.
Having an easier task was No. 3 seed Viktor Troicki, who beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3. The Serb will next face big-serving John Isner, who won five less games than James Blake but snared both tiebreaks against his neighbor and doubles partner to win 7-6 (0), 1-6, 7-6 (4).
The 11th-seeded Isner hit 13 aces and overcame 46 unforced errors, including seven double-faults, to beat Blake for the second time in a span of two weeks. Isner topped Blake at Atlanta; the first time they faced each other as pros.
No. 5-seeded Fernando Verdasco—one of the lucky ones who didn't need to play twice—got to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 9 Nikolay Davydenko. Verdasco will face Radek Stepanek, who eliminated No. 16-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Earlier, a traditional backhand probably would have sufficed for Monfils late in the second set of his match against Sweeting.
Instead, Monfils opted for something worthy of a highlight reel, spinning and wrapping his racket around his body for a behind-the-back shot that somehow cleared the net.
Alas, Monfils lost the point seconds later by missing a regular old forehand. Still, that was only a minor blip in a dominant performance that included 17 aces.
Monfils' usual entertaining brand of tennis drew kudos from Sweeting.
“I laughed a little bit today. He hit some great shots,” Sweeting said, then clarified that his chuckles came “out of respect.”
“He hit a shot behind his back. He jumped 10 feet in the air,” Sweeting said. “He's just so athletic. I was laughing because it's just amazing.” AP