Massive upsets marked the fifth day of the Monte Carlo Masters. After defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka was made short work of by Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov, his compatriot and World Number two Roger Federer was shown the door by Frenchman Gael Monfils.
Monfils’s victory is testimony to that eternal adage in sport, which he who wins the key moments wins the match. Monfils was at his athletic best as he took out Federer 6-4, 7-6 (5). Federer began on a thumping note, taking an early break to lead the first set 3-1. However, he failed to consolidate his break, allowing Monfils to break back soon, the Frenchman began to gain the upper hand as Federer’s errors mounted steadily.
In the ninth game of the first set, Monfils took the pivotal break that tilted the match to his favour. Serving at four games all, Federer dropped his serve and Monfils made no mistake as he closed out the first set 6-4.
The second set saw both players struggling to hold their serves, as both gave away far too many break points than can be considered safe. Despite an error-prone game,
Federer succeeded in pulling off some exquisite backhands and forehands that had the crowd in raptures. Oddly enough, Monfils outdid Federer at the net, as he fired off some dazzling volleys that even the Swiss maestro seemed to applaud.
After a see-saw contest, Monfils held the 12th game of the second set to force it into a tiebreak. Monfils took a minibreak straightaway in the tiebreak only to squander his advantage immediately. When the tiebreak was evenly poised at five points all, Federer committed a cardinal mistake and gifted Monfils his first match point, which he converted to roar into the quarter-finals. Monfils will now take on Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-final.
Wawrinka, on the other hand, was shown no mercy by up-and-coming player Dimitrov, who trounced the Swiss 6-1, 6-2. The fourth seed Milos Raonic had to overcome a determined Tommy Robredo to seal his spot in the semi-final. Robredo betrayed no signs of his advanced age (he is pushing 33) as he took the fight to the Cannadian in a match that stretched out to three sets. In the end, it was the younger man that prevailed, winning the match, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Raonic will now face the winner of the match between Tomas Berdych and Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-final.Published 16 Apr 2015, 17:56 IST