Gael Mon­fils avoids first round up­set against Steve Johnson at Rogers Cup

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Gael Mon­fils avoided a firstround up­set as he ral­lied from a set down to beat Steve Johnson 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 on Mon­day at the Rogers Cup.

Johnson, ranked No. 35 in the world, broke the 22nd-ranked Mon­fils twice in the first set, win­ning 28 of 46 pos­si­ble points.

But Mon­fils be­came more dan­ger­ous as his ser­vice game im­proved. He wasn’t bro­ken again and fin­ished with 11 aces.

“It took me a long time in the match to start feel­ing bet­ter and more fluid,” said Mon­fils. “I was not con­fi­dent. I had trou­ble mov­ing.”

The sec­ond set went the dis­tance, with the French­man dom­i­nat­ing the tiebreak. Mon­fils was un­stop­pable in the de­cid­ing set, win­ning all but 10 points.

“At 4-3 in the sec­ond set, I started putting the ball in the court,” said Mon­fils. “I was able to move bet­ter. I was able to make it more dif­fi­cult for him.”

The 30-year-old Mon­fils will face Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori in the sec­ond round. The 9th-ranked Nishikori, who lost in the Rogers Cup fi­nal last year, re­ceived a first-round bye.

Also in the af­ter­noon ses­sion, David Fer­rer of Spain, ranked No. 33, de­feated 43rd-ranked Kyle Ed­mund of Bri­tain 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 in a marathon match that lasted two-and-a-half hours.

Ear­lier in the day, Nick Kyr­gios was dom­i­nant in a 6-1, 6-2 vic­tory over Vik­tor Troicki. The 24th-ranked Kyr­gios won the match in 51 min­utes.

The Australian broke Troicki’s serve four times, in­clud­ing twice in each set. He fin­ished with eight aces to Troicki’s two.

“For me, it was an OK match,” said Kyr­gios. “I didn’t feel like I hit the ball ex­tremely well. I didn’t serve great. I thought I served OK.

“He (Troicki) played far from his best ten­nis. I’ve seen him play un­be­liev­able ten­nis. We all have. He’s been strug­gling phys­i­cally, as well.”

Be­tween the end of the first set and the start of the sec­ond, the 22-year-old Kyr­gios won 18 con­sec­u­tive points as he went up 4-0 in the sec­ond set.

Kyr­gios faces either Frances Ti­afoe of the United States or Paolo Lorenzi of Italy in the sec­ond round.

Van­cou­ver’s Vasek Pospisil, ranked No. 75 in the world, and Peter Polan­sky of Toronto, ranked No. 116, were sched­uled to play in the evening ses­sion on Mon­day.

Toronto’s Bray­den Sch­nur, ranked No. 197, faces an up­hill bat­tle in an open­ing-round match against 29th-ranked Richard Gas­quet of France.

Mi­los Raonic, a prod­uct of Thorn­hill, Ont., re­ceived a firstround bye and plays his open­ing match on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Raonic was ini­tially sched­uled to play tonight, but Ten­nis Canada says the Canadian asked for an extra day off to re­cover from a mi­nor in­jury sus­tained dur­ing prac­tice.

Notes: Wayne Gret­zky was in at­ten­dance at the Rogers Cup on Mon­day af­ter­noon. He watched Canadian De­nis Shapo­valov prac­tice on one of the side courts.

CP PHOTO

Gael Mon­fils of France plays a shot to Steve Johnson of the United States dur­ing their first round match at the Rogers Cup ten­nis tour­na­ment in Mon­treal, Mon­day.

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