(September 6, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – A focused Gael Monfils reached his first major semifinal in 8 years on Tuesday, when he beat French countryman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Monfils, known for hitting some spectacular shots, took a shot at the media in questioning how he plays on court.
“If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.
“Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.
“Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.”
“I dive because I want to win the point,” the No. 10 seed said. “Definitely I want to win the point. When you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s (also) to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose, actually?”
“That’s why people think, ‘Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding.’ In the end, you think I’m stupid?”
The 24th seed Pouille ran out of gas after three straight five-set matches.
“Of course I was a bit tired today,” he said. “I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.
“So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.
“Yeah, I think he was better than me today.”
Monfils will have a tough task ahead for his semifinal match. He’ll take on No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a man he has never beaten. He’s 0-12 against the Serb.
Djokovic beat another of Monfils’ countrymen, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when Tsonga retired with a left knee injury down 6-3, 6-2.
Djokovic has only played nine full sets this tournament, two full matches – his second round opponent withdrew, his third round opponent retired after six games and Tsonga retired after 2 sets in his quarterfinal match.
The 12-time major winner has now reched his 10th straight US Open semifinal.
Coming to the US Open, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ranked No. 74 in the world, stemming from time off due to an injury combined with some bad results. She’s made a run to the semifinals beating an injured Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-0, 6-2. It’s the first time the Dane has reached the semis since 2014, fifth time overall.
Sevastova twisted her right ankle in the second game of the match, which left her hobbled for the rest of the match.
“It feels great,” the Dane said about reached the semifinals. “It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.”
“I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game,” she said. “She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.
“But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.”
“I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best,” said the Latvian.
“But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve.”
“It’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.
“But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.”
Wozniacki will play No. 2 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kerber had a tough opening set, but then won the last nine games of the match to stop last year’s losing US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-5, 6-0 bothered by an injury.
“I think the key of the match was the first set,” Kerber said. “I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.
“I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.
“Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.”
Kerber, who has a chance to move past Serena Williams and become No. 1, will be playing her third major semifinal this year. She beat Williams in the final of the Australian Open.
“I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever,” Kerber said. “I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.
“I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.”
More to follow….