Thiem Tops Monfils To Reach Fourth Roland Garros QF
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem, who has made at least the semi-finals at Roland Garros in three consecutive years, was surprisingly tested in his first three matches this year, being pushed to four sets in each. But on Monday, in what promised to be his toughest challenge yet, Thiem rose to the occasion.
The 2018 finalist got off to a quick start against No. 14 seed Gael Monfils and never slowed out in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory, eliminating the final Frenchman remaining in the draw. Thiem is into the last eight at the year’s second Grand Slam for the fourth time in just his sixth appearance.
“It was a really good match, my best match so far in this tournament,” said Thiem. “It was the first match for me at this tournament, where it didn't have any up-and-downs. It was really solid. I'm very happy."
Thiem proved earlier this year that he could succeed at the highest levels on other surfaces, lifting his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the BNP Paribas Open. But the 25-year-old is most consistently a Grand Slam threat at Roland Garros, having now won 20 of his past 23 matches at this event.
Monfils can ask a lot of questions of his opponenets with his complete game, whether playing seemingly impossible defence or stepping into the court and firing away. But he never truly gained rhythm in the match, which was on Thiem’s racquet throughout. And even when Monfils did play points well, Thiem seemingly always had the answer.
In the first point at 1-1 in the third set, Monfils appeared to have won a cat-and-mouse point around the net by shoveling a backhand deep into the court with the Austrian well out of position close to the net. But Thiem sprinted towards the baseline at full speed and launched a rocket tweener for a winner. When Monfils — a human highlight reel himself — applauds an opponent’s hot shot, you know it was special.
When asked about his tweener winner at 1-1 in the third set, Thiem said, “It was an amazing shot. It was really amazing, of course, because it was the only choice I had. I was so far off the ball and couldn't play it any different way. And if that ball goes in it's always a big highlight.”
Thiem vs. Monfils Stats
Although the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier continued urging on Monfils, there was nothing stopping Thiem from seizing a double-break advantage. Monfils saved three break points at 2-4, but he struck a backhand into the net, and Thiem then held to 15 to triumph, closing out his victory with a big serve down the T. The World No. 4 will next face Juan Martin del Potro (0-4) or Karen Khachanov (0-1), neither of whom he has beaten.
Monfils was trying to make his fifth Roland Garros quarter-finals, which would have tied Henri Leconte and Yannick Noah atop the Open Era list for the most trips to the last eight on the Parisian terre battue by a Frenchman.
" I didn't start the match well, indeed. I don't have any explanation. I had two double faults in the first game. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of errors very fast. I wanted to be aggressive, but maybe too aggressive," Monfils said. "I'm disappointed. But then I have to continue working. My objectives are very high."