ATP Monte Carlo semifinal preview: Gael Monfils - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

It may not be the semifinal clash that many predicted, though the last four clash between 13th seed Gael Monfils and 8th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is extremely interesting and should be a high quality match.

The winner will become the first Frenchman since Cedric Pioline in 2000 to reach the final, and the winner will face 5th seed Rafael Nadal or 2nd seed Andy Murray in the final

So far in Monte Carlo

Both men have had impressive wins so far in Monte Carlo

Monfils has had to play an extra match than Tsonga, though the fact that he has won all his matches in straight sets means he will still be fairly fresh coming into this clash. Fairly comfortable wins over Gilles Muller, Paolo Lorenzi, Jiri Vesely and Marcel Granollers suggests more focus from Monfils, having taken a big opportunity, and he will be difficult to beat here.

Tsonga’s road has been trickier, though he has faced trickier opponents. It took two tiebreak sets to see off Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round and his straight sets win over Lucas Pouille wasn’t easy either. However his toughest yet most impressive, win was in the quarterfinal, where he battled past 3rd seed Roger Federer in three sets. He will be extremely confident after seeing off three tough opponents.

Tsonga impressed in his win over Roger Federer (Getty/Michael Steele)
Tsonga impressed in his win over Roger Federer (Getty/Michael Steele)

Analysis

Perhaps the biggest factor in this match could be consistency. There is no doubt that both men are extremely talented and have the capability to win big titles, though it is often their consistency at big moments that lets them down. What makes this interesting is that Monfils is generally less consistent, though has had a greater focus this year and has actually had a better season than Tsonga; this could be an interesting feature of the match.

Monfils will need to serve well and must look to try and dictate play as much as possible. The 13th seed must also look to remain focused and try to capitalize on any of Tsonga’s mistakes, as well as attacking at every opportunity and should also look to get his opponent moving around court; Monfils is arguably the better mover of the two.

Tsonga must be careful of Monfils' power and better movement, though his tougher road to this stage may help him in terms of bringing his best. The 8th seed must serve well, but should also look to try and take advantage of any mistakes Monfils makes. Also, he must try and dictate play using his raw power and skill.

Monfils will need to serve well against Tsonga (Getty/Michael Steele)
Monfils will need to serve well against Tsonga (Getty/Michael Steele)

Head to Head

Tsonga leads the head to head 4-2, though Monfils won their last meeting, in Beijing last year, in straight sets.

Interestingly, the two have never met on clay before. It will be interesting to see how the surface affects this clash.

Assessment

This should be an extremely tight clash, and hopefully it will be a high-quality and entertaining affair. Tsonga certainly has an opportunity here and will be confident after a big win, though Monfils has also played well and with some added focus into his career, it seems the 13th seed could edge this.

Prediction: Gael Monfils in three sets

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