Fourth seed Dominic Thiem eased into the last eight at the French Open on Monday, with the Austrian playing arguably his best match of the tournament so far to see off 14th seed and home favorite Gael Monfils in straight sets.
Coming into this match it was Thiem who had the tougher road to get here, dropping a set in each of his three prior matches, whilst Monfils had cruised through to the second week without dropping a set. There were high hopes that the Frenchman could beat last year’s runner-up out on Court Philippe Chatrier with the crowd behind him, though an incredibly poor start made that idea look unlikely.
Monfils was able to recover slightly, though was never truly able to challenge Thiem, who was ultimately far too solid out on court today. It took just an hour and 48 minutes for the world number four to progress with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Thiem slides through Monfils
It was a dire start to the match for Monfils, with four double faults helping Thiem to break twice as he sped to a 4-0 lead after just over ten minutes. The Frenchman did improve significantly afterwards, and did get one of the breaks back as Thiem served for the set at 5-2, but ultimately Monfils’ poor start cost him, as the fourth seed was able to close out the set at the second time of asking.
The end of the first set had seen an increase in quality and competitiveness, and that continued in set two. Thiem came under a little pressure in his first service game, being taken to deuce, though held, and the two traded service holds, with very few opportunities for the returning player. However, serving at 4-4, some mistakes crept back into the 14th seed’s game, and Thiem took advantage, converting his first break point to lead 5-4, and holding to love to take the set.
It had been a very solid performance from Thiem in the previous two sets, and he really came to play early on in the third, with a miraculous hotdog shot helping him break early on for a 2-1 lead, proceeding to hold from 0-30 to go just three games from victory. Monfils was able to save two break points to avoid the double break when serving at 1-3, but was eventually broken again on a fourth break point down 2-4, and Thiem held comfortably to win.
After three very tough matches so far, it was undoubtedly very impressive to see Thiem improve so dramatically against what, on paper, should have been his toughest match so far. Though Monfils was certainly flat throughout stages of the match, it was certainly an encouraging performance from the Austrian, who faces Karen Khachanov or Juan Martin del Potro next.