For the ninth time in his career Gael Monfils came from behind to win a five set match at his Slam of choice. Monfils was down 2-1 to Argentine Diego Schwarztman before the Frenchman took charge winning the next two sets 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round at Roland Garros.
“Today I won because I had the crowd behind me,” said Monfils. “I think I was a bit off. As you can see, when I serve the break points, the crowd start to be with me, behind me, and actually motivate me more than I am, and then they give me, let’s say, some wings. I think I rise my level at that stage.”
Looming ahead for Monfils is Roger Federer, but first he’ll have to get by clay specialist Pablo Cuevas on Friday.
Monfils’ top countrymen, however, had no such troubles. Former semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga destroyed Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. He’ll await the winner of the suspended Philipp Kohlschreiber-Pablo Andujar match which was called a 4-2 in the fifth with the German ahead.
“I did the job,” said Tsonga. “Whatever happens, it can only be helpful for the rest, because I’m not losing energy. Before I start playing even stronger players, it’s good to be fresh. I will certainly have to fight big fights, so it’s all the best to save energy. This is what I did, and it’s good.”
Tsonga’s playing his first Grand Slam of the season after missing the start of the year with an arm injury.
“I can count on my physical condition,” he said Sunday. “Everything is okay. I have no pain. I feel good.”
Gilles Simon also breezed in straight sets over a tough Martin Klizan 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
Kei Nishikori was an early and impressive winner over Geneva champ Thomas Bellucci. “This year I’m feeling comfortable and very confident, and my body is good. [My] mentality is also good, so I’m very focused. I hope to try to do well here, and let’s see what happens.”
Thomas Berdych edged his countryman Radek Stepanek in four. Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka also advanced as the two inched closer to a quarterfinal showdown. Federer won in three over Marcel Granollers.
“I was able to play with variation today. I was offensive. I was successful at the net. So overall, I was very, very pleased.”
He also was pleased with the security around the court after Sunday’s incident.
“I think everybody is a little bit more alert,” he said. “Tennis is one of the most accessible sports out there, and we are unbelievably close with our fans. That’s what I love about it. For me, it was more important that everybody was doing their job, taking it very seriously… I think I felt that today.”
American Steve Johnson was also a winner, he now plays Wawrinka. Nicolas Mahut ended Ernests Gulbis’s hopes. Gulbis made the semifinals last year and will now drop from No. 29 in the ranking to outside the Top 85! Hello Challengers!
Benoit Paire was an easy victor over a flat Fabio Fognini and Damir Dzumhur ousted Marcos Baghdatis. He now gets Federer.
On Thursday, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal return. Nadal meets countryman Nicolas Almagro for a fourth time at the French Open. Djokovic gets Gilles Muller in an Australian Open rematch while Muller tangles with Joao Sousa in another 2015 Australian rematch.
Also scheduled was Kyle Edmund but the young Brit had to withdraw from his match against Nick Kyrgios with an ab ailment.
And in doubles play, Indian great Leander Paes finally won his 700th career match!
THURSDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Philippe-Chatrier Court 11:00 AM Start
Julia Goerges (GER) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Nicolas Almagro (ESP) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Joao Sousa (POR)
Danka Kovinic (MNE) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Suzanne-Lenglen Court 11:00 AM Start
Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Gilles Muller (LUX)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs. Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
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