Monfils Uses Emotional Adrenaline To Slay Kei in Montreal


Gael Monfils comes back from 6-7 2-5 down, then 3-5 in the 3rd and 2-6 in the 3rd set tiebreaker, beats Kei Nishikori 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-6(6) in Montreal second round.

Monfils had never beaten Nishikori before and had lost several super close third set tiebreakers to the Japanese ace.

But yesterday the rivalry changed in dramatic fashion. Monfils saved an incredible four straight match points for 6-6 and then a Nishikori forehand long and a Monfils inside in forehand winner finished the job.

From 2-6 down, Monfils played some magical tennis and expressed more animated emotion than I have ever seen from him. It was clearly the Frenchman experiencing entering the zone of playing unbeatable tennis. And it was Monfils utilizing his emotional adrenaline energy course.

Nishikori could no nothing about it, despite having the mental edge of having never lost a match to Monfils.

Last week in Washington at the Citi Open, before losing to Yuki Bhambri in three sets, Monfils talked about the belief that he still believes he will become a Grand Slam champion in what he termed is “the second half of his career.”

After seeing the new level of genius and the utilization of his vast emotional adrenaline reserves, Monfils has just entered the equation of potential ATP players who can win a major title in the next year or two or three. Yesterday’s incredible display against Nishikori was that impressive.

It was the type of win that can not only alter a draw or change a tournament…it was the type of win that can change Monfils’ career and his perception of himself.

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  • Hartt · August 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Hartt writes:

    There has been discussion here about the young up-and-coming American players providing motivation for the older guys. I wonder if that could happen in Canadian tennis, for Vasek Pospisil in particular. Seeing Shapovalov's magical week in Montreal must remind Vasek of his own great run at the Rogers Cup in 2013, when he made the SF, beating players like Isner and Berdych along the way. (He lost to Raonic in that all-Canadian match.) A few months later he reached his career high of No. 25. (NP) But he never fulfilled that early promise, and now sits at No. 75 in the rankings. At 27, he is still young enough to make a push, and I wonder if he can actually do that. Vashy's story is a reminder not to get too excited about a young player's unexpected success. But I think Denis will do better than Pospisil in the long run. He is a very good competitor and sadly, Vasek is not.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

    catherine writes:

    I think Sloane S is so funny – I've started to count the 'likes' in her press chat. As in: I'm here and I'm fresh as a daisy and the others are 'like, huffing and puffing' ( why ? They had a good break after W'don to attend each others' weddings etc)and then she quickly backtracks in case the WTA is listening and she gets accused of 'negativity' about the circuit and says her colleagues are all 'happy' – like, of course. And, like, Sloane I really hate that green dress you've been wearing – a parachute would be more flattering :) Scoop – Bouchard, star power ? Not outside North America. You've got to bring more to the table.

  • Hartt · August 12, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Hartt writes:

    But, Catherine, surely you are aware that North America is the centre of the universe? :)

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Like Pops. He is like Krajicek with a two hander.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Scoop, Tommy Paul – he's quite something. Much as Fritz hits stuffing put of Penn and Wilson balls, Tommy Paul showed some very advanced strategy. I've been thinking for some time that Fritz is the set up guy in next Gen American players. He opened the door for his peers. He's looking a lot like Krickstein – opened the door and Chang, etc ready to blow down the house.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    But still, best young players, obvious. Zverev Alex. Coric. Khachanov. Rublev. Chung. Medvedev, and now, perhaps better than all of them combined, Shapovalov! They have the high rankings and versatile games and mental toughness and experience. All USA players on the men's side are below them whether in terms of rankings or skills. And when USA next genners beat Johnson, it doesn't mean much because that's more of a match up issue for Johnson. I'd put an asterisk next to Tommy Paul though. I'd thought Escobedo was showing the chops to take out veterans. But Paul went a step further and actually had top ten players gasping for breath. It's one thing to show promise. Yet another thing to actually put top players on the run.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Anticipating Dan's take here, No, next Gen USA men aren't like the generation of Krickstein and Chang. That's false. They are right now looking more like capable understudies for the group immediately ahead of them – Isner, Querrey, Sock, Johnson, etc. They'd have to prove themselves and take out those guys – as in an actual power grab – to show that they are for real. Frankly – and this is very obvious – Keys and Stephens and McHale and Riske etc are way better than their USA men's counterparts in terms of their accomplishments on the wta tour. They don't get the press but they are better on the whole. But the USA men have done an excellent job of raising their level of play. I've said it before, we're at a way way better point than the crash and burn of USA men's tennis in February 2014, when Isner looked around and had no help, and when Hewitt looked at Brad Klahn and said, big serve, flashy forehand, weak backhand…yeah, easy match here in Delray against the #2 USA man. If only he knew…Klahn had fought so hard to get to the ATP tour and had a miraculous run to the #68 spot in the world. And slid down fast as he headed back to the challengers and met the likes of Kyrgios, ready to begin his own run up to the top fifty.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    In other words: Win titles and show you are for real. It's not enough to have a swell game. Players need to win singles and dubs titles to show they can do it. Win tough matches. Win even when their serve or forehand is off.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Hartt – yes, of course. Bows humbly :)

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Bouchard doesn't fetch headlines in the UK tabloids? I guess they prioritize Konta etc. UK must be embarrassed, they've had some excellent junior players that should spell success on the wta tour. But for the most part those players have rotten luck on the tour. I'm not on the Watson bandwagon. Robson is disappointing and her highlight has been a media feud with Bouchard that's old news. Konta's an Aussie under the British flag, a hint of Rusedski in her allegiance. British women…the new British men.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Like Broady, but her game hasn't caught fire. Tall, strong, unusual in her strategy but uneven, inconsistent.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 10:49 am

    catherine writes:

    Andrew – no one here would know who Bouchard was, seriously. And the tabloids wouldn't sniff unless there's a REAL scandal. Kontas's a plastic Brit. And we're supposed to pronounce Johanna the Hungarian way which doesn't trip naturally off our tongues. She might as well change now to Joanna. Mind you, I'm not sure what Konta's situation will be post-Brexit. Will certainly affect others seeking to fly the Union Jack of convenience.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Konta strikes me as a soup to nuts Aussie (sorry world, but Lisicki and Kerber, poles as they are, seem completely German as players. Much as the Zverev boys don't come across as ruble-betting or chess playing, fun loving, press happy and un PC Russians!).

  • Chazz · August 12, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Chazz writes:

    Eubanks is in the Cincy qualies against Fratangelo. Let's see if Atlanta was just hometown brilliance or whether he is a force for the future. My guess is the latter.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Sorry for the stereotypes. Just that the Zverevs on court don't seem so Russian, and Konta doesn't seem very British, and the German girls speak polish but don't seem polish in other ways. Guess what I'm saying is Konta cant erase her Australian upbringing and the Zverev's aren't from Russia and nor are the talented German raised girls whose parents are polish. Much as Agassi isn't his Iranian dad, and Sampras wasn't his Greek father. They are themselves.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Fratangelo better man up! I'd guess Eubanks is a little rusty with a few weeks off, and this is a must win for Fratangelo.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Catherine, I'd assume everyone in the UK knows Murray and calls him a Scot but claim him when necessary, and otherwise tennis takes a backseat to football every day of the week except the final weekend of Wimbledon, when the tabloids are running overtime. You know best.

  • Chazz · August 12, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Chazz writes:

    A couple things about Fritz-Sandgren last night. Sandgren had several break points but Fritz was clutch when he needed to be. His big serves helped in those situations. Also, Fritz might not have the best movement side to side (though he's not as robotic as some) but his long arms bail him out and he's able to use his reach to get to difficult balls. Sandgren is a solid player across the board but probably doesn't have any lethal weapons.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 11:29 am

    catherine writes:

    Andrew – Murray's a divisive figure but when he wins W'don, yes, he's British, which includes Scotland for the time being. Football, and cricket in the summer if there's a major international tour, are the only sports. Tabloids really prefer football all year round. That's their readership. Guardian, Times, Telegraph do more on tennis. (NP) Agassi's of Armenian descent.Father passed through Iran.Dropped the 'an'. Angie is only half Polish, father I think. German is her first language and she grew up in Bremen. So pretty German, yes. Lisicki I'm not sure. Nationality is a moveable feat. I live in England but I did not grow up here so like many others I feel part of two countries. But Konta I fear will never be totally embraced as a British player. There'll always be that reservation.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 11:30 am

    catherine writes:

    I meant 'moveable feast' obviously :)

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Chazz, I like Sandgren, plays a pleasant game. Overall solid to my eye. Was Fritz going for his shots and playing with desire, or content to rally? His feet were very lazy last time i watched a few clips, and he was content to rally versus his dial it up debut and his junior record. His backhand, though I don't like it, was deadly, and he enjoyed taking control of points. He began playing like a favorite. Is he improving or has he slid in terms of his effectiveness out there? Is he waiting on shots or showing some hunger for the short ball?

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Catherine, I guess if Konta wins she's the UK's Mary Pierce, who played under the French flag as a Quebec born half French half USa superstar. All will be forgiven if she wins the us open! That's the case for everyone though. If Halep wins it will prove Cahill knew what he was doing, if Pliskova wins she wont be soft, if Muguruza wins she will be taking over Aranxta's record year by year and show that making fun of your coach in occ if they are male is the best use of occ, etc. All will be forgiven.

  • Chazz · August 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Chazz writes:

    Andrew, I would say Fritz rallies but picks his spots to be aggressive at certain times. He smacks a hard deep ball and hits the corners really well. He even hit a few drop shots but needs some improvement on those. He's not great at the net. He has that Cali laid back way about him but did throw his racquet down a few times which surprised me.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Duke Carnoustie writes:

    Good point that the U.S. women are a more accomplished group than the men in terms of Coco, Stepehens, Keys. McHale and Riske have had impressive rankings but neither has made a dent in a Slam; even Shelby Rogers reached a RG QF. As for Fritz-Sandgren, it was an intensely competitive affair. Fritz came off some nice wins in Mexico and Sandgren had just lost the week before in a tight one to wunderkind Zverev. So it was about what you would expect and Fritz was slightly better on the big points. I like Sandgren's game, too but he needs to maintain this level over the next couple years.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Duke Carnoustie writes:

    Escobedo and Smyczek are already out in Cincy.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    catherine writes:

    Muguruza out in Toronto. Might as well give the trophy to Simona right now.

  • Chazz · August 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Chazz writes:

    Wow, that looks like a really bad loss for Escobedo. Looks like his opponent was a 28 year old journeyman ranked #483. Krueger with a nice win over Jaziri.

  • Hartt · August 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Hartt writes:

    I am rooting for Simona, now that Garbine is out. But she has a tough situation. After playing her QF today she has the SF against Svitolina this evening. So whichever woman wins that match will have a lot of tennis today, and will face a fresher player tomorrow – the winner of the SF this afternoon, either Sloane or Woz.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    catherine writes:

    Hartt – Sloane looks like she's going out, probably just a match too far. Yes – it's a tough situation – though Simona's draw has been easier and she shouldn't be tired. Won in Montreal last year ? She'll want to defend.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 12, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine. Bouchards army began in Australia. She is global. Kyrgios is global too. Loved everywhere by kids.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Shapovalov has passed all the other #NEXTGENers by beat Rafa and Mannarino. Zverev and the rest are all looking at teh nike logo on his backwards cap. In awe and envy. He's the trailblazer.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    catherine writes:

    Scoop – Bouchard's not 'global' in the UK. Really. She's just not a presence. I believe you re the US and Canada but definitely not here. Maybe a bit during the summer with kids around tournaments but she really hasn't won enough for a great following. Kyrgios probably – but he's got a special appeal.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    catherine writes:

    Woz wins in Toronto. SS. Good tournament for her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Stone Sloane showed more emotion at the net handshake than during entire match. Must learn to tap into emotional adrenaline energy source like Monfils and become Slonfils.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    catherine writes:

    Simona out 1-6 1-6. Tough day for her but was she that tired ? Cahill at the occ asking her to think of 'those wonderful memories of Paris.' What ? Simona lost in Paris. Is that memory going to encourage her to get stuck into a match where she's already massively behind ?

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    catherine writes:

    Oh and Svitolina also played twice today. So no excuse there.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    All Romanians lost today. Halep, Nicolescu, and Cirstea all lost their matches. No shame in a semi of a masters, Muguruza also lost and as we know Muguruza is fine with it :)

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Catherine, did Cahill say that in occ today?

  • Chazz · August 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Chazz writes:

    Eubanks over Fratangelo in a 3rd set tiebreaker! Fritz goes down to #336 in SS. More inconsistency.

  • catherine · August 12, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    catherine writes:

    Andrew – what Cahill actually said was 'think of those memories from Paris' in the occ today. Just as useless. Also, after the match Simona was asked, what went wrong ? and replied: 'I really don't know, so if anyone wants to analyze the match I'd be happy to listen'. Answers on a postcard please – or maybe twitter these days. Unbelievable. How much is she paying Cahill I wonder. Toronto's 3 top players dumped out – Pliskova, Kerber, Halep. Simona's was the most embarrassing, by a mile.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    If Cahill is team Adidas then Adidas picks up tab. Advice is worse than Macci academy's hit harder mantra. Sheesh, fire Cahill. His advice didn't work. Svitolina earning a nice title bout against the Woz. Did he say stuff like this to Agassi? Like you know what you need to do just do it? Gilbert gives far better advice than what Cahill put forward. Just think of Paris? As in go ahead and lose in the final? Come on. This is a joke. Halep needs someone who knows something and has better advice than keep daydreaming and you'll survive this match.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Eubanks! Sheesh, and Fratangelo is having his best year. Fine win by the Yellow Jacket!

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    MacMac, Harrison Christian, Krueger Mitchell all with nice Cincinatti qualies wins, as Smyczek, Opelka fall short. To be fair, Opelka vs Dolgopolov isn't a great qualies match for the young fella! The women's qualies in Cincinnati seem absolutely brutal in terms of the competition. Giorgi? Puig? All of them in the qualies. Nice win from Townsend.

  • Andrew Miller · August 12, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Sheesh, didn't know Haase made Canada semis. Well done. Nice Zverev Alex vs Shapo match. Shapo has the star power. Maybe Zverev the younger will make Federer think twice about the next Gen. Haha!!! No way!!! Federer lives for these matches!!!

  • Andrew Miller · August 13, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Sloane Stephens and Wozniaki, great ball striking. I like Stephens a lot and like that Wozniaki takes a full cut at the ball. And that both cam volley. Great athletes. Though Wozniaki had Stephens number today and it wasn't as tough an outing as it could have been, how great was it that it wasn't a cold handshake at net? A nice well played comment from Stephens. Finally. Two players that appreciate the competition and are big enough to wish each other well. I'm hoping Stephens keeps at it. Such a nice game. Wozniaki has had an excellent year.

  • catherine · August 13, 2017 at 6:16 am

    catherine writes:

    Andrew – yes, I can't believe the drivel that comes out of Cahill's mouth. And I have an idea it's the wrong psychology for Simona. She's paying for him now I understand. I like Sloane's tennis – good all-round stuff.

  • catherine · August 13, 2017 at 7:10 am

    catherine writes:

    I suppose Cahill was referring to Simona's comeback against Svitolina in Paris but I still think it's the wrong approach – that was then and this is now, more or less.Different court, different tactics etc. Svitolina maybe was thinking of Paris – and her answer in Toronto – just get in there first and hammer on. Simona is a great escapologist.

  • Andrew Miller · August 13, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Ok fair enough saying think Paris. Still – surface? Nothing specific, like go for the corners (etc). If I'm a player thinking about Paris in an entirely new match. I agree with you Catherine. Different tournament, surface, a determined opponent (who played well for sure). Bad scouting again. You can play same player but if they improved they aren't same player and conditions aren't same either!!!

  • Andrew Miller · August 13, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    I guess Cahill can say look Simona you did better than every other seed here with the semifinals. Muguruza, Ostapenko, all the slam winners lost earlier and you were last one standing, Svitolina was motivated to beat you and that's best she has. Now you've seen it and I can help you in occ next time you play her. I'll just say Think about Toronto.

  • catherine · August 13, 2017 at 8:50 am

    catherine writes:

    Ha ha Andrew what if next time Simona plays Svitolina is at the USO and no occ :)

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