ATP Shanghai Masters: Gael Monfils beats Roger Federer in third round in China
Last Updated: 10/10/13 2:51pm
Roger Federer endured another early exit as he was beaten in the third round of the Shanghai Masters by Gael Monfils on Thursday.
The Swiss had beaten his French rival in six of seven previous meetings heading into the match in China, but went down in three sets as Monfils recorded a 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 triumph.
Making his first appearance since a shock fourth round defeat to Tommy Robredo at the US Open last month, the writing was on the wall for Federer as early as the very first game when Monfils broke after his rival was unable to deal with a fizzing backhand pass at the net.
Monfils held on to his serve for the remainder of the set, fending off just a solitary break-point, and duly took it 6-4 as he served out to 15 courtesy of a couple of booming first-serves.
The Frenchman had the chance to claim another break at the start of the second but saw a net-chord send his forehand long and was then forced to survive one on his own delivery as Federer upped his level.
It was Monfils, though, who eventually claimed a break; a series of unforced errors from Federer in the seventh game handing his opponent a 4-3 advantage.
But Federer responded immediately to break straight back with a forehand winner and, despite falling a mini-break behind in the subsequent tie-break, he came through it with three straight points to level the contest.
With Monfils ailing slightly with a foot injury in the decider, Federer looked favourite, but some huge serving from the Frenchman - who sent down 14 aces to his rival's three - ensured he remained in contention.
Indeed, he claimed what proved to be the crucial break in game four. Federer was given a reprieve after Hawkeye overturned a double-fault, but it turned out to be a temporary one as he sent a forehand long to fall behind.
This time there was to be no escape and Monfils held his nerve to serve out for a hard-fought victory in a little over two hours.
Monfils will now play top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals after the Serb brushed aside Fabio Fognini of Italy in straight sets 6-3 6-3.
However, number four seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic is out after losing to Spain's Nicolas Almagro in three sets. He needed a tie-breaker to clinch the first set 6-7 (6/8), but lost the subsequent sets 6-3 7-6 (7/4).
Monfils' compatriot and close friend, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, eased into the fourth round with a straight sets victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori, winning 7-6 (7/5) 6-0.
Germany's Florian Mayer sprung a shock against third seed David Ferrer as he triumphed 6-3 6-4, while Juan Martin Del Potro did not even have to pick up his racket to progress as his opponent Tommy Haas withdrew.