Monfils Makes Gael-Force Start To Open
The 17th seed Gael Monfils maintained his strong start to the year Monday, cruising past Argentine Federico Coria 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes to advance to the second round at the Australian Open.
The Frenchman captured his 11th tour-level title in the first week of the season at the Adelaide International 1 and played with confidence against Coria, hitting 36 winners and saving all six break points he faced to improve to 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head series.
“I feel great. [It was a] great match,” Monfils said in his post-match press conference. “I think I played very solid tennis. You can't complain when you start a slam like that. You're happy.”
You know you're loved on tour when you still get a hug after winning in straight sets 😂 @Gael_Monfils • #AusOpen • #AO2022 pic.twitter.com/mTNMgD6U7r— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2022
The 35-year-old has now reached the second round in Melbourne 15 times and will next meet Alexander Bublik after the World No. 37 defeated American lucky loser Ernesto Escobedo 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes.
Monfils' best run at the Australian Open came in 2016 when he reached the quarter-finals.
Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta booked his spot in the second round with a 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(2), two-hour, eight-minute victory against Argentine qualifier Tomas Martin Etcheverry, while 28th seed Karen Khachanov defeated American Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2).
The 19th seed Carreno Busta will next play Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands after the 25-year-old downed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 49 minutes.
Griekspoor enjoyed a standout 2021 season, becoming the first player to capture a record-breaking eight ATP Challenger Tour titles in a single season. His impressive results saw him rise from No. 155 in the ATP Rankings at the start of 2021 to a current career-high No. 62.