NEW YORK, September 7, 2016
Gael Monfils has reached the semi-final of the US Open after ending the impressive run of his compatriot Lucas Pouille on Tuesday. The 30-year-old ran out a 6-4 6-3 6-3 winner in the all-French quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows to continue his progress into the final four.
Pouille, the 24th seed, had previously shone by eliminating Rafael Nadal, but rarely looked likely to prevent Monfils sealing his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2008 at the French Open.
“I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play a quarter-final against a French guy. I think I handled it pretty good mentally,” Monfils said. “I’m happy with that and where my game is.”
Monfils will next face Novak Djokovic. The world number one benefited from the retirement of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a knee injury, leading 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic advances to the semi-finals for the 10th consecutive year.
“I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the final. As the tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better. I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form,” Djokovic said and is looking forward to the 13th clash with Monfils.
“I love watching Gael. He’s one of the players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch. He’s very charismatic. He plays with a smile. He enjoys tennis and enjoys life. In my eyes, this is what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or not. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.
“But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year, he’s playing the best tennis he’s ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set before the semis. That says a lot about the level he’s at. Definitely expecting a tough battle.”
Kerber To Face Wozniacki
In the women’s draw second seed Angelique Kerber was the first player to move into the semi-finals, winning 7-5, 6-0 over last year’s runner-up Roberta Vinci. The German dictated the majority of the points, playing closer to the baseline and creating sharp angles with her cross-court backhand to seal victory in 77 minutes.
“I think I have right now more confidence going out there,” Kerber said in her post-match press conference. “I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever. I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win.
“I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.”
The 28-year-old will face Caroline Wozniacki in the stage of the final four. The former world number one from Denmark reached her second US Open semi-final in two years after easing past an injured Anastasija Sevastova, winning 6-0, 6-2. The 48th-ranked twisted her right ankle on the opening point of the second game and her game was clearly affected by that.
“For sure it was affecting my play, but I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best,” Sevastova said after the match. “But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve.”
Wozniacki was obviuosly happy afterwards. “It feels great,” she told press when asked about returning to the semifinals. “It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. I love playing in this incredible stadium.”