Bad light halts intriguing Ferderer, Monfils clash
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.
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".