May 13, 2022

Gaël Monfils beats Miomir Kecmanovic and will play the quarter-finals of the Australian Open

With an ultimate brilliance, a winning return from setbacks, Gaël Monfils validated the tenth Grand Slam quarter-final of his career. The Frenchman, a year after his ordeal on the other side of the world and his tears at the press conference, regained his level and his ambition during this Australian Open 2022. After four matches, he did not lose the lesser set. Miomir Kecmanovic nevertheless offered him a very tight fight on Sunday in the round of 16 (7-5, 7-6 [4], 6-3).

It may be the confidence, building at the start of this Australian tour with a title, the work he put in during the off-season, or his physique which finally held up despite the preparation of the debates. . It’s probably a mix of the three but, even in difficulty and pushed to his limits by an inspired Serb, the Frenchman (35) was able to find solutions and finally had the answer to everything in this match.

He won this first set disputed under the sign of aggression where the two men tried to force through by slapping the ball harder and harder. Monfils suffered a few losses, especially in the forehand, but the balance was still positive and he was looking for the first break of the match (and the set) on a perfectly adjusted long line backhand. The sequel was less aggressive and more constructed from the 20th in the world.

Gaël Monfils made his aggressiveness speak at the start of the game to gain the upper hand over his opponent. (M. Sette/Reuters)

After a service game abandoned early in this second act on an ugly drop, the Frenchman came back pushing his opponent to the fault without necessarily putting as much in the ball as at the start of the game. The strategy paid off and led the two men to the decisive game where Monfils first scared himself (two double faults) before activating the winning shots mode again to send some splendid and decisive shots in reverse as well as in kicks right.

“It’s a great achievement but it’s not over yet”

Led two sets to nothing, Kecmanovic did not give up and even seemed to take the upper hand physically against a breathless Frenchman after the long rallies. One « body language » a little worrying but which did not reflect the feeling of Monfils on the court. “I can play 4 hours like that”, he said even after his victory at the microphone of Eurosport. And indeed, he held and he even made the break on a new winning move at 3-3.

Unable to catch up, Kecmanovic finally gave in after 2:37 of play. Monfils, he was waiting for the rest with ambition. “I want to do even better and I will try to play it better than my last quarter (Defeats five sets at the US Open against Matteo Berrettini). It’s a great accomplishment but it’s not over yet. » To try to climb into the semis, he could again find the Italian on his way. The latter, who faces Pablo Carreno-Busta this Sunday afternoon, will first have to beat the Spaniard to honor this meeting.