Gael Monfils (pictured) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fired up the French fans at Roland Garros on Saturday as both stormed into the last 16. There were joined later by Roger Federer who beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.
AFP - Best friends Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fired up the French fans at Roland Garros on Saturday as both stormed into the last 16.
Monfils had too much firepower for Jurgen Melzer of Austria winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, while Tsonga blasted his way past Belgium's Christophe Rochus 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber meanwhile pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament to date with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Serbian fourth seed Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic had been touted as being possibly the main threat to top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal after taking him to the limit in Madrid two weeks ago.
Andy Roddick and German veteran Tommy Haas also made it through, both against French opponents, while top South American hope Juan Martin del Potro scored a comfortable 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 win over Igor Andreev of Russia.
Second seed Roger Federer was playing on the Philippe Chatrier Centre court later against the day's fifth Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, but all eyes earlier were on Monfils and Tsonga.
Their mission is to finally provide another home win for France, 26 years after dreadlocked Yannick Noah became a national hero with his straight sets triumph over Mats Wilander in 1983.
Monfils, who was doubtful for the tournament up to the last moment due to chronic knee inflamation, was first to go through outplaying Melzer for the second straight year here, but needing one set less.
The 11th seed will next go up against Roddick who reached the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
"I played a great match and didnt feel the knee much," said 22-year-old Monfils, a former world junior No.1.
"I feel better and better. I believe in myself and we will see how it goes against Roddick."
The American, who defeated Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, enjoyed a stunning turnaround in his fortunes on clay having gone out in the first round here in 2006 and 2007 before missing last year's tournament with a shoulder injury.
The win made him just the second American through to the fourth round at the French Open since Andre Agassi in 2003, Robbie Ginepri having achieved the feat last year.
"It was a goal of mine to get to the second week of this tournament, but it's not over yet. I would like to keep going.
"I don't even have anything else to do next week so I would like to stick around. I got a puncher's chance in any match I play."
Tsonga broke Rochus in the first game of their tie and from then on it was one-way traffic as the big Frenchman bludgeoned the little Belgian at will with his huge serve and heavy forehand.
The 24-year-old ninth seed concluded in style on his own serve with two aces and two huge forehands followed by his trademark thumbs up celebration to please the fans.
"I was right into this match and it was a clear win. I played great and didn't really have to force it," Tsonga said.
"I will be able to take on Del Potro fully fresh. I knew I was capable of playing well on clay as I was brought up on this surface. It's no suprise to me.
"Gael is through as well so that gives us all the more chances of getting a French player onto the top of the podium."
Djokovic said that he had no excuses for his upset loss to Kohlschreiber which he described as "just a bad day at the office."
"I was disappointed with the way I was performing. I couldn't find the rhythm throughout the whole match," he said. "I was trying to find the comfort zone but my legs were really stuck."
"He played tactically really smart and I had no solutions.
Kohlschreiber will play Tommy Robredo for a place in the quarter-finals after the Spaniard's 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina
For Haas, who defeated Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, it was just the second time he had made it through to the fourth round in Paris and he will take on the winner of the Federer/Mathieu tie.
Date created : 2009-05-30