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Monfils thrills crowd after mixed day for French players

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE , Thibault LIEURADE

Latest update : 2008-10-29

France’s Gael Monfils delighted the home crowd as he eased into the last 16 at the Paris Masters on Tuesday. Next on court is local hero Gilles Simon, vying with Argentina's Juan Del Potro for a place at the Shanghai Masters.

“I was stiff and couldn’t find my bearings,” said a restless Gael Monfils as he looked back on his straight sets win (6-4, 6-4) over Argentina’s Juan Monaco at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.

The N.16 seed was the first to make it through to the second round after a day of mixed blessings for French players.

It all started disappointingly for the home crowd as the giant Swede Robin Söderling dispatched the youngster Jocelyn Ouanna in two sets, 6-3, 6-4. For Ouanna, who’d recently made headlines by ousting Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic in Lyon, it was the first appearance on a major stage. “I wasn’t aggressive enough,” was his comment after the game.

The day’s other major disappointment for the French camp was Marc Gicquel’s defeat by the Czech veteran Radek Stepanek. After losing out in a three-set thriller, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, the Frenchman confessed he was “looking forward to a little break.”

Florent Serra fared better after a bruising encounter with Argentina’s Guillermo Canas, which the home player won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Satisfied with his attacking play against the Argentine, Serra admitted it would be “an altogether different challenge” in the next round, where he meets none other than world number one Rafael Nadal.

French onlookers kept a close eye on the performance of Argentina’s Juan Del Potro, a contender for the last spot at the Shanghai Masters also coveted by Gilles Simon and Spain’s David Ferrer.

Del Potro, for whom the Shanghai tournament constitutes “an added source of motivation,” was in impressive form as he rolled over Croatia’s Mario Ancic in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.

But there’s much more still to come, as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer prepare to grace the Paris court on Wednesday.

Date created : 2008-10-28

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