Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Gael Monfils followed up his first tournament title in more than two years by barrelling into the second round of the Toronto Masters on Tuesday.
The flamboyant Frenchman, seeded 10th and fresh off his triumph in Washington, defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3.
He’s hoping this week to improve on his best Canadian result, a quarter-final run in 2011.
Monfils, who defeated big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the final in Washington on Sunday, said conditions are changed in Toronto.
“I think the court is slower here. It’s for sure less humidity and a little bit colder,” he said. “The balls are flying more. It’s quite a big change, actually.
“I’ve put in good work with my team. What I try to do is keep working with them and then see the results later,” said Monfils.
“I like to think when I’m in my top game and with consistency, I can beat a lot of players at the top.”
Monfils notched his 30th match win of the season to open his campaign at the tournament that is the last before the Rio Olympics.
The often-injured Monfils said that he had just heard the news that Roger Federer’s 2016 season was over, as the Swiss great will miss Rio and the US Open rehabbing a knee injury.
“We all have these (injuries),” Monfils said. “For sure we use our knee very, very, very much. Every surface, every court.
“For me it was tough to balance my power between my hamstring and my quadriceps and even my calf, to have enough support for my knees,” the 29-year-old said.
“It’s a daily treatment, sometimes it takes a long time to feel 100 per cent.”
French 13th seed Lucas Pouille joined Monfils in advancing as he beat Emilio Gomez of Ecuador 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 7-5. Veteran Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek knocked out French 14th seed Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 to book a date with Canadian wild card Peter Polansky.
Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun beat Alexander Zverev, a Washington semi-finalist, 7-5, 6-3.
The 19-year-old German was making his tournament debut ranked a career-best 25th, He is the youngest in the top 25 since Richard Gasquet 11 years ago.
– Lu ready for hostile crowd –
Lu will next take on Canadian fourth seed and Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, the 2013 finalist who lost his opening match at home a year ago.
“If a 10,000 crowd is against you, even if you prepare for it, it’s still a shock,” said Lu of his likely Raonic scenario.
“I’ll be a little bit nervous, I hope I can play my best tennis and try to enjoy the 10,000 people against me!”
Four Americans reached the second round as Jared Donaldson beat Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-3, Dennis Novikov dispatched Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-3, Rajeev Ram ousted Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2 and Donald Young completed the winning quartet with a defeat of Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.
The top eight seeds enjoy first-round byes. World number one Novak Djokovic is due to launch his campaign on Wednesday against Gilles Muller.
Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych reached the third round as he beat Croatian Borna Coric 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Source by: AFP