Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

France holds its breath as Monfils takes on Federer

Latest update : 2008-06-06

21-year-old Gaël Monfils, the first French tennis player to qualify for the French Open semi-finals since 2001, will face world number one Roger Federer on Friday.


Gael Monfils stands just two wins away from becoming the first home winner of the French Open since Yannick Noah in 1983 following his win over David Ferrer in the quarter-finals.
  
But the two obstacles that stand in his way are as tough as they could be in tennis.
  
First he must defeat top seed Roger Federer in Friday's semi-finals and then he would have to play the winner of the other semi between triple champion and second seed Rafael Nadal and Australian Open champion and third seed Novak Djokovic.
  
Mission impossible, many would say, but not Monfils, a 21-year-old former world junior champion who, until this tournament, had struggled to make the difficult transition to the ranks of the seniors.
  
"I have not yet achieved my objective," the Paris-born player said.
  
"We are from the Caribbean (his family hail from the island of Guadeloupe). We are soldiers on a mission and I want to see that mission through to the end.
  
"In the short-term that means beating the world No.1. For the rest we will see later."
  
Bold words from a player who hit rock bottom over the winter as he struggled with a succession of injuries and motivational problems.
  
But a renewal with former coach Thierry Champion, with whom he had fallen out, and a new-found dedication to his physical preparation has turned things around.
  
Monfils was also inspired by his good friend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's unexpected run into the Australian Open final in January.
  
Noah's former coach Patrice Hagelauer says that Monfils does stand a chance of pulling off what would be one of the biggest upsets in Grand Slam history, especially as his game against Federer will be played on clay.
  
"On any other surface, it would be more difficult, but on clay I feel he is capable of upsetting Federer," he said.
  
"What interests me is to see what tactics Federer will adopt when faced with a player as unpredictable as Gael.
  
"He is ultra-dangerous. He gets everything back. He is really quick, has good anticipation and he ends up by forcing his opponent to make mistakes.
  
"He can be aggressive but he is also very creative."
  
Three-times former champion Mats Wilander, who lost to Noah in the 1983 final, was more circumspect.
  
He praised Monfils but said that while there were similarities with what Tsonga achieved in Melbourne, there were big differences also.
  
"In Paris, Monfils has beaten moderately-good players and then a David Ferrer who failed to live up to his ranking of world number five, while in Melbourne, Tsonga defeated Gasquet, Youzhny and then Nadal to get to the final.
  
"He will be aware that on Friday against Federer, it will be a totally different challenge."

Date created : 2008-06-06

COMMENT(S)