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AO Day 3: Monfils In, Blake Out, Young Does Press

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gael Monfils, France

France’s Gael Monfils didn’t show his best form in cruising past Croatia ‘s Antonio Veic 6-4, 6-4 6-4 in the second round. Next, he faces a much taller task in American John Isner.

Putting his various ailments behind him, the 12th seed played an athletic and fairly effective game behind the baseline match in besting the Croat, cranking big forehand winners when called upon to ice the contest.
“I’ve had two easy rounds, and that’s never happened to me at Grand Slam before.”

But Monfils, who is coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, wasn’t thrilled with his play.

“On a scale of 1 to 20, I would give myself a five,” he said. “Roger would probably give me a two. Against Isner, I’m planning on giving him a much better number.”

“He has a monster serve,” said Monfils. “It’s going to be really hard to return serve. If he’s serving well, it’s almost a bet as to whether I go left or right. I’m going to have to try and read his serve really well.”

James Blake, USA

I don't know what this exchange of glances on the sidelines was about, but there was definitely a fight happening on court. Blake was not able to topple Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, who won the match 6-4, 6-7(3), 5-7, 6-3, 10-8, but he put up one hell of of a contest.

In the best match on the men’s side to date, del Potro had to come up with every shot in the book to repel the veteran American, who fought off one break point after another late in the fifth set in an attempt to pull off what could have been one of the most critical victories of his career.

“As soon as I let any ball sit up a little, he was taking it to me,” Blake said. “That’s my goal too, and I had chances at them and made some mistakes. That's the difference. You miss a couple balls and he’s moving on, and I'm not. But that’s why he won the US Open and is No. 4 in the world.”

“It’s tough to rank the [five set losses] but right now it hurts pretty bad,” said Blake. “I had plenty of messages from people back home who were up until 5 am watching me, and I don’t even want to respond to many. I just feel bad that they were up watching and are probably going to sleep a little disappointed. Luckily for me they will all be my friends tomorrow, which will help me get through after I stop beating myself up for a few hours or few days.”

That was an encouraging battle to watch, no disappointment here Blake.

Donald Young, USA

"Every match I played in the qualies, it seemed like they were rooting for the other guy, but this will just be at a totally different level, obviously," he said."I'll just have to go out there and play and imagine they're cheering my name."I've played a couple of pretty top players, but none like Lleyton here with the crowd. He's from here and they love him. (But) that's what you look for, you want to play these players."

Posted by Shelia

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