It proved to be a titanic encounter, it probably was always meant to be. Nishikori, the hard-hitting, solid player against Monfils, the hard hitting, erratic(sometimes enigmatic) player. And it received the most fitting possible end, with both players bringing their best tennis to court and treating the crowd with what could possibly be the match of the tournament.
Tie done set a piece, Monfils and Nishikori indulged in another colossal battle in the third, matching each other shot for shot, error for error. But Nishikori managed to somehow pull away in the decisive tie-breaker, earning himself 4 match points. But the ‘showman’ Monfils refused to go away.
Nishikori had two serves to close out the match, but couldn’t do so, thanks to some brilliant defensive play from Monfils, and some indecisiveness on part of Nishikori.
Nishikori led 6-2, but ultimately fell prey to Monfils’ fearless ‘match point play’.
Monfils hung in there, rallied hard, and went for it whenever he saw an opening, winning 6 successive points in the process and completing one of the comebacks of the year.
It’s a good victory for many reasons,” Monfils said.
“It’s a big revenge, because last year around this time I had the same thing actually against Kei. I was up 6-2 in the tie-break in the Olympics in the quarter-finals and I lost the tie-break. So I know exactly what he feels.
“Actually last year, as well, a bit before, I played him in Miami. I also had five match points and I lost it 7-6 in the third.”
“I’m more than happy because I fought through the toughness, because it was tough for me. It was a bit like a rollercoaster. I was a break down in each set” he added.
Monfils will now face Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.