Gael Monfils met Federico Delbonis for the second time in his career on Stadium 2 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. While their first meeting took three sets for the Frenchman to topple the Argentinean, Monfils won in straight sets in this Masters 1000 event. The lefty was able to defeat Andy Murray in the third round, but his powerful forehand was no match for the speed and showmanship of Monfils. It took a hour and 18 minutes for the Gael Force to come out on top, 6-3, 6-4.
Monfils Rides Strong Services
Coming out of the gates hot, Monfils won the first game at love jumped out to a 0-30 lead in Delbonis' first service. Two unforced errors by the Frenchman tied the game score up at 30 apiece. Monfils was able to earn his first break point as he held a 30-40 lead, but the Argentinean held on to make it 1-1.
The 13th seed had little trouble holding serve as he took a 40-0 lead--beginning his service a perfect 7/7--and winning the game at 15. Up 2-1, with a score of 30-30, Monfils was gifted a break point on a double fault. He couldn't capitalize on that opportunity, but his next two points were pure and Delbonis' serve was broken for the first time in the match. That break, along with another hold after a botched smash by the 53rd-ranked ATP player, gave the 16th-ranked ATP player a 4-1 advantage. Both players held for the rest of the set and Monfils won the set, 6-3--ending it on an ace after 31 minutes of action.
The major advantage for Monfils was his rock solid service play. He won all but five of his service points, and it made his one break enough to take the first set. Delbonis won only 58 percent of his service points, and that proved to be the difference.
For Monfils, Two Breaks Is All It Takes
Putting the first set behind him, Delbonis was able to take the first two points quickly. Unfortunately, that was the only quick part of the game as it went to five deuces and lasted a whopping nine minutes and 46 seconds. It eventually ended with Monfils breaking the Argentinean's serve after squandering his first break point at 30-40.
The Frenchman's first service of the second set went much quicker as he went on a 4-point run--ending with a beautifully played serve-and-volley--to hold serve and take a 2-0 lead. In the next game, Delbonis took a 40-15 lead, but Monfils climbed back to make it deuce. The lefty won the next two point and was on the board in the second set, but he wasn't done there. Delbonis won three straight return points and faced a triple break point. The Frenchman clawed back for two points--bringing the score to 30-40--but it wasn't enough and Delbonis broke Monfils for his only break in the match. A hold at 30 in his next service gave the Argentinean his first lead of the match via a three-game hot streak.
It was then that Monfils took over for good; he held his next serve at 30 and followed it with a break at 30. With the lead returned to its rightful owner, he merely had to hold for the rest of the match. That's exactly what Monfils did; along with a 6-4 win, he ended the second set the same way he did the first--with an ace. Delbonis could not handle the late-match push from the "Gael Force", and the service points won discrepancy of 52 percent to a very nice 69 percent also hurt his upset hopes.
Monfils will move on to play Milos Raonic, who eliminated him in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year, in the quarterfinals on Friday.