Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Monfils tops Nadal's conqueror to reach semis

Published:Wednesday | September 7, 2016 | 9:00 AMNEW YORK, United States (AP):

Beating Rafael Nadal at the US Open took a lot out of Lucas Pouille and Gael Monfils took full advantage, reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2008.

The 10th-seeded Monfils beat an error-prone Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in an all-French quarter-final that concluded under Arthur Ashe Stadium's retractable roof.

Monfils, who turned 30 last week, had lost six consecutive major quarter-finals since reaching his only previous semi-final, 81/2 years ago in front of a partisan crowd at the French Open. But the entertaining Monfils has been playing the best tennis of his career lately, winning all 15 sets played during this tournament.

"It's a court I love," he told the crowd during an on-court interview. "I always say that the French is my home, but this one is my second."

The 24th-seeded Pouille quite simply ran out of steam, winding up with just about three times as many unforced errors as Monfils, 44-15. He never had won a US Open match or any match that lasted five sets until last week; his four-hour-plus win against Nadal on Sunday was his third five-setter in a row.

Monfils repeatedly used lobs to try to take points from Pouille.

"I know he was maybe a bit flat today, so he wanted to close at the net," Monfils said. "And the lob obviously is the best shot."

Up next for Monfils will be a matchup against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, or No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose quarter-final was scheduled for last night.

Monfils, Pouille and Tsonga gave France a trio of quarter-finalists at the American Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 89 years.

In the day's first women's quarter-final, Roberta Vinci fell apart after losing the opening set on a foot fault, allowing No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber to take the last nine games and win 7-5, 6-0.

Vinci was the runner-up at Flushing Meadows a year ago, reaching her first major final by stunning Serena Williams to end the American's bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam in tennis in more than a quarter-century.

Kerber, who has a chance to overtake Williams at No. 1 in the WTA rankings after the tournament, moved into her third Grand Slam semi-final of the year. She beat Williams to win the Australian Open for her first major championship, then lost to Williams in the Wimbledon final in July.

Kerber's first US Open semi-final since 2011 will come against either Caroline Wozniacki or Anastasija Sevastova.