Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut eased their way to the quarterfinals at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Italian Fabio Fognini and his swiss partner Stan Wawrinka. They will now play the sixth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers.
Herbert/Mahut reel off four games to bag the opening set
The match got off to a slow start with all four players doing enough to hold serve with the score at 2-2. The fifth game of the set is where the match began to come alive. Up 30-love, the Frenchmen faltered and the Italian/Swiss pair won three straight points to bring up double break points after a shanked forehand at the net from Herbert.
Good net play from the 26-year-old sent the game to a deciding point and still down a breakpoint, they were broken thanks to constant pressure from Fognini which led to an unforced error. The Swiss Wawrinka safely held serve and consolidated to put he and Fognini up 2-4 in the set.
The next couple of service games were comfortable holds and the Italian/Swiss pairing found themselves serving for the opener at 4-5. Serving for the opening set, the French pair turned on their style and starting forcing their opponents into unforced errors which ultimately led to four break-back points at 15-40.
First time of asking they broke which was quickly followed by a hold of serve to love as they turned the tables and were now leading 6-5. All of a sudden Fognini/Wawrinka found themselves serving to stay in the match. But it was Herbert/Mahut who would bring up two set/breakpoints from love-30 behind. A forehand winner return down the line from Mahut did the job as he and Herbert clinched the opening set 7-5.
Herbert/Mahut continue dominance
Herbert got the second set started by holding serve to get on the scoreboard. With the momentum firmly with the French team, they continued to dominate and would bring up double break points at 30-40 on the Wawrinka serve with a lucky net cord going their way. The Swiss then smashed a forehand long of the baseline to go down a break, 2-0.
The Italian/Swiss would have a break back point in the next service game by sending the game to a deciding point but the French pairing denied their opponents to take a 3-0 lead. More misery would be piled on Fognini/Wawrinka with the number two seeds earning double breakpoints after turning the rally from defense to offense.
Fognin then sent a forehand wide to concede the game for 4-0, continuing their domination. Once more Herbert consolidated the break to take a commanding 5-0 lead. After winning nine games on the bounce going back to the first set, it would stop the rot once and for all and hold serve to finally put their names on the scoreboard in the set at 5-1.
The unseeded pair then saved two match points before gaining a break point but were also facing a match point. A sweetly struck backhand from Wawrinka on Mahut's second serve helped he and Fognini win the point and break for 5-2. However, they couldn't consolidate and a fourth match point arrived for the number two seeded French team. A backhand into the net did the job as Herbert/Mahut progressed, 6-2.