French Open: Wawrinka knocks Monfils out to set up quarter-final tie against Cilic

Stan Wawrinka booked his place in the French Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Gael Monfils, removing the last remaining home hope in the men’s singles.

The Swiss, champion at Roland Garros two years ago, had to quell a partisan crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier and fought off a spirited challenge from his opponent before cruising through the third set.

Having fallen a break down in each of the opening two sets, Wawrinka recovered his poise in each and ultimately advanced 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to set up a last-eight meeting with Marin Cilic, who benefited from Kevin Anderson’s retirement on Suzanne Lenglen.

Monfils displayed his usual speed and agility round the court to wow the crowd, but it was Wawrinka who was more accurate and consistent when it mattered.

Wawrinka did require treatment on his lower back midway through the second set, but seemed unaffected and continued to move around the court freely as he ruthlessly picked off his increasingly downcast opponent.

The world number three – who is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament – will be favourite to topple Cilic in the quarter-finals, with a last-four clash against either Andy Murray or Kei Nishikori awaiting the winner.

It took Wawrinka a while to get going as Monfils exerted fierce pressure on his serve in the early stages and eventually broke for a 3-2 lead at the eighth time of asking.

But the Frenchman handed the initiative back with a poor eighth game which featured an awkward stumble and a couple of lackadaisical shots.

The momentum had well and truly shifted and a Monfils double fault capped a disappointing end to a set that had started so promisingly.

Both men failed to hold to start the second, although each managed to stave off a pair of break-point opportunities at crucial junctures midway through the set.

But once again the big moment went Wawrinka’s way – a trademark whipped backhand setting up three set points in the tie-break which went begging, but there was no denying the Swiss as a forehand volley left Monfils a mountain to climb.

Some of the fervour seeped out of Chatrier as a result and the feeling of Wawrinka’s inevitable victory was further underlined as the Swiss broke for 2-1 in the third and then rescued the situation as Monfils threatened to break back immediately.

Disheartened, Monfils was broken to love as Wawrinka took a 4-1 lead and, with the writing on the wall, the third seed sealed his triumph courtesy of a supreme backhand down the line.


Wawrinka [3] bt Monfils [15] 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-2

Wawrinka – 35/40
Monfils – 21/28

Wawrinka – 3/1
Monfils – 4/3

Wawrinka – 5/7
Monfils – 2/13

Wawrinka – 62
Monfils – 64

Wawrinka – 70/56
Monfils – 76/38

Wawrinka – 116
Monfils – 101

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