Gael Monfils reached the final of the Monte Carlo Masters after a straight sets victory over French compatriot Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Monfils, who is still yet to drop a set at this year’s competition, always looked in control as he recorded a 6-1 6-3 victory in 1 hour and nine minutes.
The thirteenth seed will now take on eight times champion Rafael Nadal in tomorrow’s final, after the Spaniard came through a draining battle with Andy Murray in three sets.
It will be Monfils’ third Masters 1000 final, but his first since 2010 when he lost to Robin Söderling in the Paris Masters final. He also reached the final in the French capital a year prior to that clash before he was defeated by Novak Djokovic in three sets.
For Tsonga the manor of this defeat will be a big setback after the Frenchman defeated Roger Federer to reach the last four. His game was erratic all afternoon and he was unable to make inroads into Monfils’ compact and tight defence.
Monfils Shows Consistent Side
Monfils, now 29 years of age, has been questioned in the past due his unpredictability, and at times his discipline and drive has come under scrutiny.
Even so the talented Frenchman has shown a more consistent side at the start of 2016, his performance here was professional and level-headed one to say the least.
Monfils took charge of the match after breaking his opponent’s serve in the first game of the match, and the tone rarely looked like changing due to Tsonga’s wayward groundstrokes from the back of the court.
Tsonga Struggles To Find His Best
Tsonga’s first serve percentage was up at 75 per cent in the opening set. However that only told half the story, as he only won 34 per cent of the points when his first delivery found the mark.
That was partly due to Monfils solid returning, and the thirteenth seed was dominating the baseline rallies. Even so Tsonga was gifting his fellow countryman a bundle of points and made 18 unforced errors in the first set alone, which was concluded in just 29 minutes.
Monfils didn’t even face a break point in the opening set and he began the second in equally impressive fashion. He broke Tsonga again to lead by a set and 3-1 before holding his own serve to move within two games of the final.
Tsonga Breaks Back But Shows Too Little Too Late
Even so there was always a chance, that with Tsonga’s power, the 30-year-old Frenchman would be able to force his way back into the match.
He almost did when he claimed his first break of serve to claw his way back to 4-3. Even so Monfils regained the break in the following game and then held his own serve to see out the match.
He will go into the final as the underdog against a rejuvenated Nadal; however this triumph should give him plenty of confidence.