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Monfils Takes Out Blake, Into Brisbane Semifinals

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Brisbane International QuarterfinalsGael Monfils, France
(Photos by AP)

BRISBANE, Australia — Gael Monfils produced tennis of the highest quality to see off an equally impressive James Blake in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Playing with his right shoulder heavily strapped, the mercurial Frenchman broke Blake at a crucial stage of the third set to clinch a thrilling match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake Brisbane International Quarterfinals
The two men duelled for one and three quarter hours, serving powerfully and producing some crunching groundstrokes, and for a long time it was hard to see who would finish on top.

But at 3-3 in the final set the 30-year-old Blake faltered slightly and with the game poised at 30-40, Monfils struck a beautiful backhand passing shot to leave the American stranded.

Blake refused to concede and he had a chance to break back immediately, but Monfils clung on and eventually wrapped up the quarter-final on his fourth match point, celebrating by beating his chest with his fist in sheer delight.

"He had a good start and was hitting the ball well," Monfils said.

"I started with the wrong tactic -- I was hitting the ball to his forehand and James just didn't miss.

"But I think James began to spray it more and he gave me a chance to get more aggressive and try a few more shots, and I think that was the key to the match."

He also said there was no problem with his shoulder, despite the heavy strapping.

"Today was a bit better (than in the second round) because I found a good way to tape it ... tomorrow will be a lot better for sure."

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Brisbane International Quarterfinals
Monfils will now play Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in the semi-finals after the second seed kept alive his hopes of defending his title with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 win over Wayne Odesnik of the U.S.

Posted by Shelia

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