ATP Tour wrap: Monfils notches up 500th win in rare Cincinnati upset

ENIGMATIC Frenchman Gael Monfils has become the eleventh player and just the second Frenchman to notch up 500 wins, when he took down Australian 14th seed Alex de Minaur in Cincinnati today. Monfils won 6-3 7-5 to advance through to the third round of the tournament, one of only two unseeded players to knock off seeds in the Round of 32.

“I feel great. Obviously I’m happy to get the 500th win under my belt. It’s a great achievement and I’m very proud,” Monfils said post-match. “It’s a blessing and I’m very happy about it.”

Monfils needed one hour and 44 minutes to dispatch de Minaur in a tight one, serving six aces to one, and winning 83 per cent of his first serve points. He created 13 break point opportunities, and whilst he could only convert three, the third was the most important, avoiding the match going into a second set tiebreak. The Australian only won 64 per cent of his first serve points and could only break once, as Monfils proved he still has what it takes to match it with the world’s best despite recent injuries that have plagued his career.

“It’s been a while I’ve been playing. To be honest just before coming here, I didn’t really know that I was that close and now 500, if I think about it, it’s a big number,” Monfils said. “It’s been a lot of wins over the years. I never thought that when I started I would be at that amount of wins.”

Monfils and American John Isner were the only unseeded winners over seeded opponents, with the big-serving United States representative defeating Italian young gun Jannik Sinner in a come-from-behind victory, 5-7 7-6 6-4. It was a rare highlight for the home nation fans in what was otherwise a disastrous day for the Americans. Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Mackenzie McDonald and Sebastian Korda all bowed out in the second round. Of those, Korda fought hard against second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, but was ultimately outclassed, 7-6 6-3.

“He’s someone who has been doing well recently. I knew I had a difficult challenge ahead of me,” Tsitsipas said of Korda post-match. “When things got tough, I stayed there. The match was played in the details.

“I was able to bring the best out of my game when things got tough and persevere. I was consistent throughout the important moments and I think just trying to find solutions and ways to apply as much pressure as possible. That was the key element today.”

It was great news for the majority of the seeds, with all the top 10 seeds on court able to post victories and advance through to the Round of 16. Top seed Daniil Medvedev joined Tsitsipas in the next round, as did Alexander Zverev, Pablo Carreno Busta and Hubert Hurkacz who all won in straight sets. A few seeds had to step up at times during their matches though, with fourth seed Andrey Rublev and eighth seed Casper Ruud having to come back from a set down, while Argentinian Diego Schwarzman won in three over Tiafoe.

In other results, 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime also advanced with a 6-7 6-3 6-4 win over Karen Khachanov, whilst three more unseeded players moved through. Belarusian Grigor Dimitrov, Argentinian Guido Pella and Italian Lorenzo Sonego all won in straight sets to book their Round of 16 spots.


[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [WC] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-2 6-2
[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 7-6 6-3
[3] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 7-6 6-2
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 5-7 6-3 6-1
[7] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [LL] Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-4 6-2
[8] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-7 6-0 7-6
[9] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [WC] Andy Murray (GBR) 7-6 6-3
[10] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated [WC] Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-1 4-6 6-4
John Isner (USA) defeated [11] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 5-7 7-6 6-4
[12] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-7 6-3 6-4
Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated [14] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3 7-5
Grigor Dimitrov (BLR) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-3 7-5
[PR] Guido Pella (ARG) defeated Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-1 7-5
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [Q] Tommy Paul (USA) 7-6 6-2

Picture credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

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