Monfils Upsets Tsitsipas In Sofia
Medvedev, Berrettini move into semi-finals
Gael Monfils recorded his biggest win for four months on Friday to book his place in the Sofia Open semi-finals. The seventh-seeded Frenchman beat World No. 12 Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, 6-3, 7-6(5). It was his biggest win since October 2018, when Monfils beat then No. 9-ranked John Isner at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna.
"Stefanos is a great player. There's no doubt," Monfils said. "Today I think it was just a few points. He's a real champion and he will become a big champion."
Monfils broke Tsitsipas in the opening game and clinched his third set point in the 35-minute opener. Solid on serve throughout — winning 93 per cent of his first-service points — the Frenchman recovered from 4/5 down in the second-set tie-break for his fourth win of the season. Tsitsipas, who had beaten Monfils in October 2018 at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, came into the match in strong form having reached the recent Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Nadal).
Monfils will now challenge Daniil Medvedev, who struck nine aces and lost only six of his service points to cruise past Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1. The third-seeded Russian, who broke serve four times for victory in 70 minutes, improved to 9-2 on the season, which includes a runner-up finish at last month’s Brisbane International (l. to Nishikori).
"It's going to be a tough one as well. Daniil is coming on strong, won a lot of matches this year already," Monfils said. "It's going to be another battle. I think [I need to use] another gameplan because he's a different player. The ball stays very low, he serves big. I will have to adapt myself again, I guess be aggressive as well and also try to serve as big as I can."
Verdasco recovered from 0/40, when serving at 3-3 in the second set, but was broken in the 11th game. Berrettini, the 2018 Gstaad champion, gave little away on serve in the second and third sets — losing just eight of his first-service points. At one stage, the 22-year-old won 12 of 14 points, including a service break for a 3-2 lead in the decider.
Berrettini will now face Marton Fucsovics, who celebrated his 27th birthday by advancing to the second ATP Tour semi-final of his career. The Hungarian was awarded a walkover when his opponent, 2016 champion and fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, withdrew, prior to their first meeting, due to illness. Last year, Fucsovics won his first ATP Tour title in Geneva (d. Gojowczyk).