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Tennis - Monfils kicks off busy French day with win over Baghdatis

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Sep 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Gael Monfils of France (R) shakes hands with Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus (L) after their match on day seven of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Monfils won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Gael Monfils of France (R) shakes hands with Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus (L) after their match on day seven of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Monfils won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tenth seed Gael Monfils motored into the U.S. Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets dismissal of Marcos Baghdatis on Sunday at the year's last grand slam championship.

Monfils, who has enjoyed a run of success this hard court season, maintained his impressive form with a 6-3 6-2 6-3 romp that kicked off a busy day for the French men's contingent at Flushing Meadows.

In later fourth-round matches on a breezy day at the U.S. National Tennis Center, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was taking on American 26th seed Jack Sock, and 24th-seeded Lucas Pouille was facing 14-times grand slam winner Rafa Nadal.

Monfils, playing a familiar foe, was well prepared for his round of 16 test and executed his game plan.

"He's a good friend, I know him for a long time," said the 30-year-old Monfils. "We had many battles in juniors and we have many also on the senior tour.

"I had to be very consistent with my serve because he's a pretty good returner. I was very fast on the baseline, so I guess everything was fine today."

Monfils, twice before a U.S. Open quarter-finalist, served up nine aces and gave himself a cushion with six service breaks against the Cypriot, who put only 36 percent of his first serves in play.

In the last couple of months, the Frenchman has posted a 17-2 record, winning the biggest ATP World Tour title of his career at the 500 level tournament in Washington, reaching the semi-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 in Toronto and advancing to the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics.

The 31-year-old Baghdatis, runner-up this season in Dubai and a semi-finalist in Newport, was making his first fourth-round showing in a grand slam since the 2009 Australian Open.

Monfils will play either fourth-seeded Nadal or compatriot Pouille for a place in the semi-finals.

(Editing by Rex Gowar)


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