Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Bad light halts intriguing Ferderer, Monfils clash

Published:Monday | June 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM
France's Gael Monfils screams after scoring a point in the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Switzerland's Roger Federer at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, yesterday.


Roger Federer could be excused if he has a restless night.

With thick gray clouds overhead and light slipping away at the end of a rainy day, Federer got broken by GaÈl Monfils to even their French Open fourth-round match at a set apiece, right before play was suspended yesterday.

They met on the sideline to chat with the chair umpire, then clasped hands, and Monfils gave Federer a playful pat on the shoulder. Spectators at Court Philippe Chatrier booed and whistled upon hearing there'd be no more tennis.

Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, and Monfils, the flamboyant Frenchman who won their two most recent encounters, will resume today. At least they finished two sets, with Federer taking the first 6-3, and Monfils winning the second 6-4.

Historic win

Two women's matches did not begin at all yesterday, including defending champion Maria Sharapova against Lucie Safarova.

In the quarter-finals, Federer or Monfils will face Federer's Swiss Davis Cup teammate, Stan Wawrinka, seeded eighth, who had no trouble beating 12th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Wawrinka said he will be watching the rest of Federer-Monfils "like any tennis fan".

On the other half of the draw, No. 5 Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 82 years to reach the quarter-finals in Paris, eliminating Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The only other man from his country to make it this far at this tournament was Jiro Satoh, a semi-finalist in 1931 and 1933.

Next for Nishikori is No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who overcame a mid-match lapse to defeat No. 4 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3.

Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but got broken, and his sloppy play carried into the tiebreaker.

Monfils got broken while serving for the second set at 5-3 against Federer, who had an opening to perhaps steal a two-set lead. But Monfils responded in the next game, winning an 18-stroke exchange with a forehand to earn to set point, then converting with a backhand that drew roars from the crowd.

Monfils leaped, yelled "Allez!" and waved both arms to ask for more noise.

In a women's match yesterday, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic beat No. 9 Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to return to the quarter-finals for the first time since winning the 2008 title.

She'll play No. 19 Elina Svitolina, a 20-year-old from Ukraine who reached her first major quarter-final with a 6-2, 7-6 (9) victory over No. 29 Alize Cornet.

In the second set, Cornet berated the chair umpire over a line call, daring her to "give me a warning" and saying the official "stole" a point. Later, Cornet referred to the ruling as "a shame" and "a scandal".