Darkness halts Federer-Monfils match
PARIS — Roger Federer could be excused if he has a restless night.
With thick gray clouds overhead and light slipping away at the end of a rainy day, Federer got broken by Gael Monfils to even their French Open fourth-round match at a set apiece, right before play was suspended Sunday.
They met on the sideline to chat with the chair umpire, then clasped hands, and Monfils gave Federer a playful pat on the shoulder. Spectators at Court Philippe Chatrier booed and whistled upon hearing there’d be no more tennis.
Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, and Monfils, the flamboyant Frenchman who won their two most recent encounters, will resume Monday. At least they finished two sets, with Federer taking the first 6-3, and Monfils winning the second 6-4.
Two women’s matches did not begin at all Sunday, including defending champion Maria Sharapova against Lucie Safarova.
In the quarterfinals, Federer or Monfils will face Federer’s Swiss Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, seeded eighth, who had no trouble beating 12th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
Wawrinka said he’ll be watching the rest of FedererMonfils “like any tennis fan.”
On the other half of the draw, No. 5 Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 82 years to reach the quarterfinals in Paris, eliminating Teymuraz Gabashvi- li, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
“I hope it’s just the start of my journey and I hope I can keep going,” said Nishikori, who had three days off because his third-round opponent withdrew with an injury.
The only other man from his country to make it this far at this tournament was Jiro Satoh, a semifinalist in 1931 and 1933.
Next for Nishikori is No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who overcame a mid-match lapse to defeat No. 4 Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
The postponement of play set up quite a schedule Monday. Along with Federer-Monfils and Sharapova- Safarova, there will be matches featuring Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams.
In a women’s match Sunday, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic beat No. 9 Ekaterina Makarova, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, to return to the quarterfinals for the first time since winning the 2008 title.
“On the one hand, it does feel like it’s a different life. On the other hand, I feel like time is really f lying. I feel it hasn’t been that many years,” said Ivanovic, who briefly was ranked No. 1 after winning her lone Grand Slam trophy. “I definitely do have the feeling it’s amazing.”