Player With Caribbean Roots Makes U.S. Open Quarter Finals

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Gaël Sébastien Monfils
Gaël Sébastien Monfils celebrates after he makes the quarter-finals on Sept. 2, 2014.

News Americas, FLUSHING, NY, Weds. Sept. 3, 2014: He is the world’s 20th-seeded tennis star with roots that stretch into the French Caribbean. Yesterday, he marched his way into the quarter-finals of the 2014 U.S. Open after a hotly contested match that saw him even arguing with the referee to muttering in French.

French-born tennis player Gaël Sébastien Monfils, whose father, Rufin Monfils is a former soccer player from the island of Guadeloupe and whose mother, Sylvette, comes from the nearby island of Martinique, moved past No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov to take the coveted spot – 7-5, 7-6, 7-5. Pretty impressive for a guy who has only once reached a Grand Slam semi-final.

Monfils was good enough Tuesday to move past the No. 7 seed in a hotly contested match after 2 hours and 24 minutes of exhausting tennis on the hottest day of the summer. But he certainly made things interesting.

Entering the Arthur Ashe Stadium before the match listening to Beyonce’s “Partition,” he was soon up a set and a break. Monfils, 28, appeared poised to move through but Dimitrov battled back, leading Monfils to carelessly drop a few games in a row, including one in which he just quit.

Down 40-0, Monfils didn’t even attempt to return Dimitrov’s offering, choosing to stand at the service line and intentionally belt his return wayward.

Gaël Sébastien Monfils
Gaël Sébastien Monfils moved past the No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov, in a hotly contested match after 2 hours and 24 minutes of exhausting tennis on the hottest day of the summer.

But somehow Monfils was able to battle back in the set, eventually winning a tiebreak. He went on to win the third, as well, moving into the quarter-finals.

Through four rounds at Flushing Meadows, Monfils has yet to drop a set.

Back into the US Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, Monfils will face the winner of the No. 2 seed and five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland and No. 17 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain match.

The Paris native will look to equal his career best Grand Slam result (2008 semifinals at Roland Garros).

“It is because I love to play here,” Monfils said of his victory. “I have such a good feeling here. I just feel good. I am happy, so I deliver a good game.”

Monfils is a former French No. 1, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 7 and winning 5 singles titles. He was the runner-up at the Paris Masters in 2009 and 2010 and a semifinalist at the 2008 French Open.

Monfils father is now employed as an agent for France Telecom while mom Sylvette is a nurse. He has a younger brother, Daryl, who also plays tennis.

Gaël and Daryl played doubles together in the 2012 Open Sud de France, losing in the first round.

WILLIAMS SISTERS ELIMINATED IN DOUBLES

Meanwhile, for the second time in two chances, the Russian duo of Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova defeated the Williams sisters, this time in the quarter-finals of the US Open Tuesday, 7-6, 6-4.

The Russians started strong, jumping ahead 4-1 in the first set before salting the lead away. They were able to hang on in a tiebreak, and Makarova and Vesnina had an easier time in the second set.

The No. 4 seeds move on the face the winners of Andrea Hlavackova/Jie Zheng and Kimiko Date-Krumm/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

 

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