Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Native Son

Unseeded 21-year-old, 6' 4" Gael Monfils of France reached the semifinals of Roland Garros on Thursday by winning the "battle of the hotties" in defeating No. 5 seed David Ferrer 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Monfils becomes the second consecutive black tennis player (from France!) to reach a major semifinal in 2008 after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga accomplished the same feat at the Australian Open, where he went on to lose the final against Novak Djokovic. Monfils will have to defeat No. 1 Roger Federer, who also won on Thursday (2-6 6-2 6-3 6-4) against 2007 Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez.

Madama Monfils applauds her son

I thank Mad Professah for posting this and I'd just like to add a few thoughts as well.

Monfils is also the first Frenchman to make the semifinals in Paris in seven years. That's a long time between drinks. I could feel the pride of both his parents and the fans as they watched their son tough out a victory over one of the toughest players on the tour.

You just can't get a ball by Ferrer. Especially when you're playing from the back stop. Monfils couldn't win games with any ease until he stepped up into and dictated play with his powerful groundstrokes and intelligent tactics. Once he got into his groove late in the match, he frustrated Ferrer to the point of disgust. The Spaniard simply had no answers for the questions Monfils asked.

It's great to see a young player with such talent and superior athleticism finally play up to his potential in front of his family and country at his home Slam, no less.



kraa said...

Semi final not a final yet

BeefingFraeulein said...

25 years after Yannick's triumph. Great moments....

rabbit said...

I appreciate the historical significance of Monfils' victory, but my reactions to Tsonga's and Monfils' games could not be any different. Gael's game is extremely reactive and non-aggressive. He has great retrieving abilities and could reach every one of Ferrer's deep ground strokes and used good tactics in limiting the sting of Ferrer's shots, but after all, it was Ferrer who was doing most of the shot making. To me, Monfils' game is just extremely boring. Almost no shotmaking at all. It's the same reason why I never look forward to Murray's matches.

rabbit said...

And just because of that last sentence, I'm kind of worried about Roger's next match against Gael.

oddman said...

Very nice win for Monfils, but I wouldn't worry a bit about Fed, rabbit. He'll take Gael down.

As for the Djoker's comments about winning his next match, I don't think so either.

I would really love to see Gael in the finals though, and can hope he can beat Roger, right? One can only hope, lol.

Cate said...

He did win Juniors here, right?

Anyway, as animated Monfils is when playing, he bores me. Annoys me, actually with his over-reacting.

Now, all Roger has to do is not get the French crowd too excited like in his match against Benneteau.

As for Djokovic... er... no.

Mad Professah said...

I am shocked by the way Monfils was playing--he doesn't play like that on hard courts.

So, who do u have in Raja vs Rafa IV?

Cate said...

Roger vs Rafa IV? Hmmm... hard to call but I think it's another four-peat for Rafa. At least to save his #2 ranking.

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, I hear you about Gael's game. I'm often scratching my head about why he plays at the back stop.

But when he gets up on the baseline and actually hits the ball, he's a shotmaker.

It's all mental with him. He just doesn't have an aggressive mentality. Sometimes even on grass and hardcourts he allows his opponents to dictate play.

With his weapons, it makes no sense.

All that said, he still beat one of the best claycourters on the tour and for that he deserves praise for his historic run to the semifinals.

PeytonAllen said...

Nice to see Monfils finally have a break through. Maybe he has the brain Gasquet doesn't.

For some reason I'm not feeling Federer/Nadal IV. I can't quite pick who will be upset though. Nadal is just crushing people. I don't see Novak winning a 5 set match on clay over Nadal. Rafa is just getting better with every match.

In the Fed match, be interesting if it's close how the crowd reacts. Federer has nearly come unglued against Americans at the Open, but that's still a crowd that cheered for Roger when he hit a good shot.

If Gael can get into it, I sense French hysterics.

Karen said...

I honestly think that this year is Roger's year. Then again, I said that last year, and the year before and year before that - LOL. Ever the optimistic Fed fan. I like how he just stepped in against Gonzo and did his thing. Whoo hoo. I think Rafa is showing the rest of the field that if you want this trophy it will be over my dead blistered body. I think Novak will have a fight on his hands and we might even see a retirement. When Fed wins FO this year, I am actually going to stop cheering for him as I see another little young lad that I really like. I am pulling for Dinara to win this trophy.

Craig Hickman said...

Who's that young lad, karen?

Karen said...

Hi Craig. I actually like Gulbis. I think he has what it takes to make it to the top. I also am a bit fond of Gael himself, as well as Tsonga. I love Fed and he will always be my heartbeat, but I just really want him to win the FO, get to Slam No. 15 and then everybody else can fight over the spoils. I dont care if he loses the No. 1 ranking as long as he wins the French Open. I am one of the few Fed fans who believes his window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller. A lot of people are saying that Novak does not stand a chance against Djoker, I think the Djoker could take out Rafa. Rafa is a beast on clay, but have you seen Novak play. If he was not such a divisive figure I could see myself cheering for this guy, but he has put too many feet wrong in the past, and continues to do so, that I could never become a fan.

Karen said...

Craig, I see that your guy clinched the nomination. Who do you think he should nominate as his vice president. I think he should go with Hillary actually. What do you think?

PeytonAllen said...

Karen I would be worried about you if you DIDN'T think Fed would win this year. :)

He'll be too much for Gael. We'll see what Novak is made of, if he can pull off the impossible. Nadal has just been crushing people. I don't see him losing three sets. Not on clay. Sadly I have to work, but i'm taping it. The question is, will i have the strength to watch without getting on the 'net to see who wins first. :)

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, check this out.

And I don't think Hillary should be anywhere near that ticket.

As for who I want as his VP, I can't say because I don't wanna jinx it. ;)

Karen said...

Craig, I read that article, brought tears to my eyes. Seems like you and your father were very close. Do not see that happening very much in black households, but very good to see. As for Hillary, I know she can be polarizing but I think that you have to look at what is feasible right now and to my mind Hillary is a much more seasoned veteran of Washington politics and the ticket of Obama/Clinton would be a better match against whomever McCain ultimately picks as a running mate. That being said, I just cannot see America putting a Republican in the White House again and sorry, but I think they would rather have a Clinton in the house, rather than 4 more years of the Republicans. That being said, as someone who lives and works in the Cayman Islands and also someone who has ties to the Caribbean, I am a little bit apprehensive at some of Obama's comments regarding the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean as a whole. I am adopting a wait and see attitude when it comes to his policies in this region of the world. Apologies for the O/T post.