French Open R4 preview and pick: Federer vs. Monfils

Roger Federer and Gael Monfils will battle for a spot in the French Open quarterfinals on Sunday. Of their 12 previous meetings, three have come at Roland Garros (Federer is 3-0).

Roger Federer and Gael Monfils will be squaring off for the 13th time in their careers when they collide in round four of the French Open Sunday. Federer is leading the head-to-head series 8-4, including 4-2 on clay and 4-0 in Grand Slams.

Something, however, will have to give in this one. Monfils is on a two-match winning streak against Federer, having prevailed 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in last year’s Davis Cup final (at home in France) and 6-4, 7-6(5) earlier this spring in Monte-Carlo. But the underdog’s record versus the 33-year-old Swiss is positively futile at Roland Garros. Federer is 3-0 and has won nine of their 10 contested sets.

The world No. 2 may be further away from his prime than in his previous Paris clashes with Monfils (2008, 2009, 2011), but he is still in outstanding form. His 28-5 record on the season includes a recent clay-court title in Istanbul and a runner-up showing in Rome. So far this fortnight Federer has taken out, Alejandro Falla, Marcel Granollers, and Damir Dzumhur without dropping a set.

Monfils, as usual, has been unable to avoid drama. The 14th-ranked Frenchman went to 7-5 in the fourth set against compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin, needed five sets to get past Diego Schwartzman, then had to come back from two sets to one down yet again to defeat Pablo Cuevas. Friday’s showdown with Cuevas was especially tense, as Monfils even trailed by two breaks at 4-1 in the fourth. Inspired by a raucous crowd, the 13th seed stormed back for a palpitating 4-6, 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

“Paris is different,” Monfils said following his miraculous comeback. “[It] is magic. I don’t know how, but I’m here…. I think I can show some new emotion. I think the crowd just brings me something else, and I think it just showed a bit more today.”

But the fans have never been able to pull him through against Federer and home-court advantage for Frenchmen in Paris is not the same against Federer as it is against any other opponent. The 2009 champion is healthier than he was during the 2014 Davis Cup match (back injury) and more inspired than he was in Monte-Carlo, so look for him to withstand an early wave of Monfils energy en route to a relatively comfortable win.

Pick: Federer in 4

18 Comments on French Open R4 preview and pick: Federer vs. Monfils

  1. You guys, Carlos Bernardes is in the chair! So where is he disadvantaged?

    Fedole fans, for shame………..

      • Really bad.

        The break saved him.

        As I said, little calories expended. He’ll probably still have to go for a hit after his presser. It will have no effect on him vs CryBaby.

        Allez CryBaby!!!


      • oh come on now, hawkeye, be a little objective 🙂
        Roger has been DISadvantaged by the weather! He had to play a bit two days in a row! Now we know that all the years of rigging schedules to his advantage have not helped at all – yesterday’s rain has proven that beyond doubt, no? 🙂

  2. He should’ve won in straight sets anyway. He let the second set go with some really loose serving. Monfils didn’t play a great match but he was still the toughest fourth round match-up.

  3. ‏@rolandgarros 8m8 minutes ago
    “I think it was pretty obvious that I had no energy. I couldnt challenge him.” #Monfils on being ill during R16 match

  4. I wonder if it was RF who requested the match to be s started so late knowing it would have to be carried over to the next day. Maybe the outcome would have been the same but it was tough on Monfils just when he had the momentum in the match.

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