The only man who hasn’t lost a set at the French Open this year is Roger Federer. The 2009 champion defeated French favorite Gael Monfils today in straight sets 64, 63, 76(3) to reach another French Open and Grand Slam semifinal.
Monfils mounted a challenge late in the third set but the Frenchman appeared to injure his groin just as Federer pulled away in the tiebreaker. It was the third time Federer has knocked out Monfils at the French Open,
On Friday Federer will face off against the near-invincible Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. And Djokovic has won 43 straight matches and is perfect 41-0 this year.
“I think there’s less at stake for me than for him,” Federer said. “He’s got a lot of things going on for him. Sure, I’d love to be again in the Grand Slam final because I haven’t achieved that in a few slams. But nothing major for me as long as I, you know, keep on giving myself chances. I think I’m playing really well again.”
Federer though has lost three straight to Novak this year, but still leads 13-9 overall in their series.
“We’ve played quite a bit up until Indian Wells really in a six month period,” Federer said. “I think we played six, seven times, maybe. So this is obviously different. They were all on hard court, indoor, and so forth. This is on clay. Like we saw today, I mean, windy conditions change everything, really.
“I have a couple of days to prepare for that and come up with a good game plan,” he added. “I don’t think I have to change a whole lot, but there is a lot to change because it’s a clay court match.”
A win by Djokovic over Federer would earn him the No. 1 ranking, a fact not lost on Federer.
“Obviously a big question remains, how long can you keep it up? I said it a couple weeks ago,” Federer said. “It’s just hard day in and day out to be asked the questions, How many more wins can you get? You would just like to, you know, not talk about it. Just go out there and do it over and over again. So I’m sure it’s been tricky for him, but he’s been doing a great job.
“Now maybe the streak is less at stake in some ways because it’s more of a big match against me so it’s easier to focus just on playing me instead of the whole situation. But I think the No. 1 situation is the big one right now for him, I think, and not so much the streak. But it all goes hand in hand. It’s going to be an interesting day.”
And one last word from the victim, Monfils, who says it’s going to be a great match. “Novak plays so well that there’s going to be an incredible match, a wonderful semifinal. I’ll be the first one to watch the match.”
Djokovic was the recipient of a rare walkover from Fabio Fognini who withdrew from the tournament because of the leg injury.
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