Djokovic Gets Another Retirement At US Open, Will Face Monfils In US Open Semifinals
by Sean Randall | September 6th, 2016, 11:48 pm

The first day of the men’s quarterfinals at the US Open turned out to be an absolute dud. But the end result – a Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils semifinals – could be a classic.

Up first on windy, dreary day was Monfils against his countryman Lucas Pouille. And you knew that after three straight 5-set matches including a stunning, emotional win Sunday over 2-time champion Rafael Nadal, that the 22-year-old would have little left today. And that turned out to be true.

They traded some early tweeners but after that it was a straightforward win for Monfils who dominated Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

“I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically,” said Monfils.

“Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today. Still moving good. I’m very happy.”

Happy he should be but “Tennistically”? Is that a new word?

Again, expectations though were low anyway for Pouille, it’s too bad we couldn’t get much of a match out of it.

“Of course I was a bit tired today,” Pouille said. “I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five. So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today.

“Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form. Yeah, I think he was better than me today.”

And he was, it just wasn’t much of a match. In fact, it was so humdrum ESPN even cut away from a singles quarterfinals to show doubles between Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez against the Bryans brothers on what was the last match on Armstrong. The Spaniards won that one just like they did in the French Open final.

But back to the singles. Pouille is just 22 so he’s got a decent game and down and will be a factor again. He just didn’t have it today.

Let’s be honest, Monfils hasn’t played anyone worth a lick, but credit to him, he hasn’t dropped a set and has more than taken care of business, something he wasn’t known for doing before this recent refocus.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know where his level is at. Clearly, he’s playing with confidence, but is he really ready to take the next step and beat Djokovic?

His countryman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga wasn’t. Tsonga had been playing well and figured to finally test the Serb who himself has had an easy run to this point.

But Djokovic broke early in the first and again in the second. And once Tsonga took a medical to get his knee looked at it was just a matter of time. And time was up a few minutes later with Tsonga retired with that left knee down 6-3, 6-2 putting the Serb into his 10th straight US Open semifinal.

“I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the final. As the tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better,” Djokovic said. “I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form.”

And that wrapped up maybe the worst night session ever at the US Open. A session which began with Sevastova rolling her ankle in the second game of a 6-0, 6-2 blowout loss to Caroline Wozniacki.

For once, maybe the US Open wished they didn’t have the roof so these matches would not have been played!

Moving on…It’s Monfils-Djokovic Thursday and it’s Novak who leads 12-0!

“I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That’s it,” Monfils said.

If Monfils ever wanted to break the duck, this would be it. But that’s for another day.

“I love watching Gael,” Djokovic said. “He’s one of the players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch. He’s very charismatic. He plays with a smile. He enjoys tennis and enjoys life. In my eyes, this is what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or not. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.

“But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year, he’s playing the best tennis he’s ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set before the semis. That says a lot about the level he’s at. Definitely expecting a tough battle.”

And for Djokovic, what an incredible first five rounds at the US Open. Two retirements, one walkover, he’s played just one full match in 11 days. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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47 Comments for Djokovic Gets Another Retirement At US Open, Will Face Monfils In US Open Semifinals

Travis Bickle Says:

“And for Djokovic, what an incredible first five rounds at the US Open. Two retirements, one walkover, he’s played just one full match in 11 days. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Didn’t he play two full matches? Do not shortchange him, Randal ;-)

Margot Says:

TB: You and your “cupcakes” for Andy at the start of the tournie, what about Nole and his “jammy dodgers?” ;)Un…be…lieve…able.

Travis Bickle Says:


R16 (Isner): Tough guy to play on a fast hard court surface – loves to play at home in US
QF (Cilic): US Open champ/winner of the last week Cincinnati Masters over in-form Murray
SF (Nadal): 14 slam winner

Evidently, Novak’s projected draw was pretty tough. It’s not his fault it didn’t materialize as projected…

In any case, for healthy Novak draws really do not matter – he is in a class above the field and can win if he wants to (or when his jealous and needy wife lets him)

Margot Says:

Not saying it’s his “fault” TB. Any more than Andy’s was his. Merely pointing out life seldom works out as planned.

Colin Says:

Just as there was a rush to attach asterisks to Andy’s big wins because his opponents were tired or unfit, so should there be asterisks against these matches that are taking Nole towards another USO final, no matter who the other finalist may be..

Certainly Nole is getting ample rest, but he isn’t being forced to produce his best tennis. This means that in the final, if he gets there, he’ll be vulnerable to an opponent, no matter who, if that guy can reach HIS best form.

Furthermore, how is that shoulder?

jane Says:

closest is this one for mauresmo:

crazy! retirements in semis and finals.

but sad that right now so many are walking wounded.

Wog Boy Says:

We can’t blame Andy for not having to play top 20 (?) until final with Nole when he won his first Wimbledon, can we?
On the other hand Nole had to go trough the hell and back to get to that final, but that wasn’t Andy’s fault.

Margot Says:

And it wasn’t Andy’s “fault” that last Wimbledon final was first time in a GS final he hadn’t faced Nole or Fed.
Every argument can be countered.

skeezer Says:


Jac Says:

Those 11 days were copied from official US Open page, where they said that by Friday (semi-final), Djokovic will have played only 1 full match in 11 days. It’s common habit (annoying one at least for me) of commentators nowadays, when they want to exaggerate something. I’d just say he played 2 full matches in tournament, but that phrase seems to be more catchy, as you see it made it way to another article….without correct understanding :)

theDA Says:

@Wog Boy – “We can’t blame Andy for not having to play top 20 (?) ”

Oh but so many of you do ;) At least the hordes of Djokovic fans I encounter on tennis forums and twitter. They’ve been grumbling about Wimbledon 2013 every single year and now this year’s Wimbledon and Olympics. But here’s the reality: nobody can help how draws turn out. Not even Novak. As a renowned statistician (below) indicated the other day, Novak didn’t have to face a top 10 player until the finals of Wimbledon in 2011 nor in 2014. Add those to this year’s USO and I think Novak has a edge over Muzz. Unsurprisingly, nolefam are very very quiet about this fact ;)

Maybe they’ll take a little more care before assigning asterisks with such abandon in future. Oops, a porcine creature just flew by my window ;P

Wog Boy Says:


There is slightly difference between not facing top 10 and not facing top 20 player prior final, don’t you think so? Regardless, it is something one can’t control. The fact is, Andy is in form player, Nole isn’t, it’s Andy’s to lose this ISO.

Wog Boy Says:

and if you ask Colin and few other Andy fans, Andy lost last year AO final because Nole tricked him that he is done and dusted, even according to Andy’s presso after the match.
What a cunning person Nole is, almost as cunning as certain one..

Giles Says:

So the faker’s good fortune continues. What a joke!!! It’s always the undeserving that have all the luck in the world! Sheeeesh!!

Wog Boy Says:

Glad Willow is not around to see Hugh Jackman and his wife in Nole’s box.

Ocean view won’t be happy either since Jelena looks quite happy.

Giles will never be happy since he/she is born like that , mather nature mistake…well, sh!t happens..

Giles Says:

AM. Thank you so much for the article and no, I Havnt read it previously. Our man is always positive. Just hope he gets some good luck.
Vamos Rafa!

Humble Rafa Says:

Let’s be honest, Monfils hasn’t played anyone worth a lick, but credit to him

We don’t get to choose who we lick. We lick who is in line next. Licking is hard and takes discipline.

J-Kath Says:


Andy doesn’t have many fans to ask. Margot and RZ and Myself, and Myself doesn’t know.

PS: I’ve found this GS to be boring, very boring – maybe it will brighten up from now on. I’m keen to see how Del Potro gets on particularly as Argentine plays UK in Davis Cup 16/17/18
Sept. and if my train ticket ever arrives I’ll be there – keen to see AM vs. DelP.

Humble Rafa Says:

I wish all my opponents a speedy recovery.


mat4 Says:

There is a big difference between how a draw unfolds, and the draws at the beginning.

Novak had a difficult draw, but was lucky enough, this time.

Andy has the same kind of draw for tournaments already: without difficult opponents, players who are able to pose problems, etc.

The most important thing here is where the no 3, on the surface, could land. At the AO, Federer, who easily beat Murray wherever they faced lately, landed in Novak’s half. At the FO, Rafa landed in Novak’s half. Wimbledon was a shame of scheduling, and do I have to mention that both Federer and Raonic landed in Novak’s half.

It’s not only this, in fact it’s so obvious that everything is done for Murray to reach finals that even blinds can see it. His opponents are handpicked, his schedule is optimal. Imagine the OG finals had DelPo one day of rest after the semi.

There are, of course, limits to every manipulation, and they are obvious now: the big hitters, who should have posed problems to Novak bowed out of the tournament, from Raonic, Cilic, to Tsonga. Rafa, who would probably be a big problem for Andy in a final and Novak in the semi — he lost just once in slams against the Scot — was eliminated.

So, please, enough hypocrisy.

For the rest, history just remembers winners. It’s up to Novak, Gael, JM, Stan, Andy, Kei to win, whatever the draw. But I really hope anybody but Murray will win — not because of Murray — nobody asked him about the draws, and I guess he’s a fine, ordinary young man — but because I would like the interests of big corporations and betting companies which are behind all of this to be disturbed.

funches Says:


The fact that you believe draws are fixed makes me sad that you live a pathetic, paranoid existence. You and anyone who agrees with you need psychological help because you’re delusional.

I don’t even have a dog in this hunt because I like both Djokovic and Murray, but the constant whining and downgrading of the other among their fans is embarrassing for tennis and humanity.

mat4 Says:

Dear funches,

I don’t live a paranoid existence. The day when you’d have seen all that I have seen and stopped parading on the chocolate side of life, we will be able to talk. I also hope that you will learn to be polite at least, before offending an unknown poster who never offended you personally.

Meanwhile, before proceeding with a character assassination, just face the facts and answer the arguments. What’s is not true in what I wrote? The draws were all predictable this year. The schedules were unfair. Tennis is 11% of an industry that makes between 120 and 200 billions a year. It’s a lot of money, too much not to do everything to maximize the benefits.

Wog Boy Says:

I miss Wilfred poster (sorry if I misspelled your name) who calmly, with properly calculated statistics proved that draws might be and are fixed and he wasn’t even Nole fan. I enjoyed his posts, he was from Belgium if I am not mistaken?
Cheers Wilfred:)

RZ Says:

Bracket update: The last few days I’ve managed to stay at the top with Valerie and Jalep in 2nd and 3rd.

If anyone had told me a few monthks ago that I would retain my place atop the racquet bracket thanks to Gael Monfils, I would have died of laughter.

theDA Says:

Ah, Mat4, finally you came out of exile. Welcome back. I knew those 26 twitter followers wouldn’t sustain you for long ;)

@ funches
Bravo! well said. It is complete hogwash. This conspiracy stuff from seemingly intelligent fans is continually baffling to me. Other fanbases aren’t immune but the prevalence among Djokofans in believing this nonsense is alarmingly high. Am I’m talking professional, educated fans. Shocking.

“But I really hope anybody but Murray will win — not because of Murray — nobody asked him about the draws, and I guess he’s a fine, ordinary young man …”

LMAO. This had me rolling around the floor. That’s the problem with assuming your audience is dumb 😂

Margot Says:

That’s interesting mat4 because you are doing exactly what some Nole fans lambast Giles for doing. I don’t mind in the least BTW that you want “anyone but Andy” but some of you seem to mind when Giles goes, “anyone but Novak.”

skeezer Says:

Have seen one match so far worth watching on the Mens side, yes it is the most pathetic USO in a very long time. And don’t give me those attendance figures, most of those tickets are already previously bought ( especially the corporate ones ). Hopefully will see some exciting matches going forward, we’re already at the Semi finals? C’mon….there is only the finals after that!!!!

The draw is the draw and all of the top four have had there fair of good and bad draws. But Worlds #1 playing only played just one full match in a SLAM in 11 days? You call that entertainment? Not Novaks fault, unless of course you believe in conspiracy theories. Not a good couple of weeks for the Tennis business.

Colin Says:

The problem with the “rigged draw” theory is: Why?

Like any other organisation,the ATP and those who run the tournaments want the money to come in, from fans, from ticket sales, from TV networks – whoever.

For the draw to be rigged Andy would have to be overwhelmingly popular, so popular that nobody would care about the final if he wasn’t in it.

As it always pleases me to note, he is popular in America, but surely no more so than Del Potro, to name but one.

I am cynical enough to believe draws might be rigged on occasion, but in this instance I don’t believe there is sufficient motive.

Margot Says:

I agree Colin. The question would have to be why? Andy is such a complicated, private, uncompromising person he certainly does not have mass appeal. Thanks be.

mat4 Says:


I never answered Giles on this topic, and never commented his opinions. I don’t take any responsibility for what other posters write.

I understand Giles very well, and it’s OK with me. I don’t like Rafa for the same reasons he doesn’t like Novak: we are fans of main rivals. Without Novak, Rafa would already be the GOAT. Without Rafa, Novak would be already the GOAT. So, it’s cruel but fair. But Giles has the custom to insult other posters, and that’s something I don’t appreciate.

Second point: I don’t have anything against Murray. TheDA infantile hubris makes me sometimes write things I don’t really care about, but, overall, that’s what I think. I don’t care about the personality of players, and I really seldom comment it for years already. I have nothing against a Murray victory if it’s a fair one, if he earns it.

I understand the elation you, Murray fans, feel right now: your guy plays very well. But I also understand the feeling prominent among Nolefans: his achievements are downplayed time and time again. In conversations with journalists and professionals in and around the sport, I learned that it wasn’t by chance, but a project. You could all try to be a bit more open about what’s really happening, instead of immediately accusing somebody to be paranoid.

In the long run, what’s happening now does a disservice to Murray himself, who has great qualities as a player.

Finally, I’ll repeat what I already said about Rafa, but this time directed to Murray: I can’t really have anything a player who has lost 13 of the last 15 matches against my fav. If he wins the USO, I can only congratulate him. I just hope Novak will win this slam, being a Novak fan.

RZ Says:

The rigged draw theory gained prominence when Fed and Rafa were the top 2 players. The idea (and there was some statistics to support this) was that the powers that be (the tours? TV? Nike?) wanted there to be Roger vs Rafa finals, so the semifinal draws would end up with a disproportionate amount of times with Djoker on Fed’s side and Murray on Rafa’s side (keep in mind at that point in time Fed was routinely defeating Djokover and Rafa was routinely defeating Andy, but Andy was doing quite well against Fed – at last in non slam tournaments). Here is the report on that:

mat4 Says:


Sorry, but Novak played not ONE, but TWO completed matches.


Make your own research. You’ll need less than half an hour to see what’s in stake for Murray, less than a few hours what Novak’s domination does to betting companies. You’ll also have to dig outside of sport a bit. It’s not a Gordian knot, but it’s complicated.

Daniel Says:

ugly duck complex.

Yeah, This Open is kind f dull. but I like the final match ups and hope they live up to the hype. A lot at stake, specially for Djoko and Murray.

I know I may be jumping ahead but what Murray actually wins tis USO? He would have won Wimby, Olympics and USO and he is perfectly capable of winning in AO, where the only one who beast him there regularly is Djoko. Suddenly he could be in for a Career Grand Slam, 4 in a row with the GOLD in between, something the there Big 3 couldn’t do. That would be the ultimate irony.

Also, if he indeed betas Djoko in USO final again (what I think won’t happen a Djoko to me would be favorite in that one), can’t forget the past. He would exorcise some recent demons and contend for #1 having won last 2 Slams. And we may finally have a rivalry between the 2 many expected as they should be sharing Slams regularly.

As for Djoko, we all know, another step close to GOAThood. Another year with 3 Slams, securing year end #1 and 1 Slams shy from Sampras and Nadal, which he certainly will tie or surpass next year.

If Djoko wins this USO, 2 more match to it, than only Federer will stand in his way and the question will be when he’ll do it. If he loses some doubts he may reach 17 will rise, because he will be 2 Slams still shy from Sampras/Nadal and may even lose #1 if Murray wins.

If they both meet in finals there are huge implications that can change the history books for good. Will Murray finally challenge Novak regularly or will Novak keep still dominating?

Any other winning and will be Cinderella story, overcoming history for him, and Monfils backing up those 3 Slams juniors after 15 years.

Or Wawa, third straight year that he wins a Slam after AO 14′, RG 15′!! Who knows.

Daniel Says:

^Missed DelPo cinderella history…

mat4 Says:


Publicity through sport is 8 times more effective that publicity campaigns on tv and other media. As an example, the betting company that sponsors the AO saw a 80% increase of betting during the Australian Open.

How much do you think Nike, Wilson, and IMG at time, would have lost had Novak and Andy won a few slams? Imagine Andy playing Fed and Novak playing Rafa in every semi — Rafa would have been the favourite in Paris, but otherwise, Novak had a positive H2H against Rafa on fast hard, and Murray lead against Fed. But Fred Perry and Sergio Tacchini were small companies, compared to Nike and Adidas.

mat4 Says:


You reminded me of a passage from Gargantua. Murray hasn’t won the USO yet, nor Novak, btw: Monfils, DelPotro, Nishikori, Wawrinka are excellent players, and to dismiss them so easily would be an error.

And four in a row, a non-calendar Grand slam, has been done only twice in the Open era.

Let’s not hurry, despite all, it’s still sport.

jane Says:

To add to RZ’s link, there is an ESPN article from a few years back about the USO draws being fixed, in the early rounds specifically:

RZ Says:

The worst case of rigging that I remember was years ago (Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, and Richard Krajicek were all still playing). The US Open made the draw without the seeds in a non-public meeting, and then later placed the seeds. They also strayed from the rankings in doing the seeding. The players revolted and they had to redo the draw.

skeezer Says:

“Sorry, but Novak played not ONE, but TWO completed matches.”
Ok mat 4….two..

mat4 Says:


You’re not the only one that made that error, so I am a bit… sensitive.


Thanks for the help. I forgot that affair from 1996. And these were innocent times, compared with today.

Daniel Says:

Yeah Mat4, I know it is fast forward, but the possibiity is there. Specially if Nole loses in the final, something doesn’t happen since RG 2015.

Still think Novak will come through, though.

chrisford1 Says:

“At least the hordes of Djokovic fans I encounter on tennis forums and twitter. They’ve been grumbling about Wimbledon 2013 every single year.”

There is no doubt that Djokovic was depleted by the stellar match he and Delpo played in the 2013 semis. Juan Martin as so beat up he said he basically stayed in bed two days and “struggled” to move about and walk on the 3rd. And he thought Djokovic was hurting just as much.
Happened to Rafa. Novak in the 2009 Madrid semifinal war they had -left him so beat up and exhausted he had little left when he played Fed for the title and Roger got one of his only two clay wins over Nads. And the knee injury from that Djokovic match got worse. It was a factor in his French Open loss and the reason he was unable to go to Wimbledon to defend his 2008 title.

Margot Says:

in 2012 Nole beat Andy in an almost 5 hour semi final marathon. Then he beat Rafa in another marathon match, if I remember correctly. And yet, and yet….also prior to Andy’s first Wimbledon win he’d played and won Queens whereas Nole had only played an exhibition at Bootles, or whatever it’s called.
You see these arguments are so tedious because whatever you play I can follow suit, or even trump.

RZ Says:

^ that’s why I don’t like asterisks. You can find a way to apply one in most situations.

chrisford1 Says:

Morgot, Delpo said his loss to Djokovic came despite him being on fire and playing the best match of his life. Unlike a 500 event played before Wimbledon even started, having a 4 hours and 43 minutes 5-setter like the one Novak and Juan played depleted both guys.
Doesn’t asterisk Andy’s win, it just accepts the reality that two days before facing Andy, Novak had the stuffing pounded out of him and still won. The day he played Andy, his defeated rival Delpo was so hurting and exhausted still that he spent the day in bed.
Those are just the facts.

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