In the past, Gael Monfils had been defined by his immense talent and a marked failure to win the biggest matches against the best players. But Monfils seemed to be coming into his match against Roger Federer with a renewed focus and a couple of high-quality straight set wins over Richard Gasquet and Grigor Dimitrov. As Monfils grabbed the first set and then the second set, I found myself secretly, guiltily rooting for the Frenchman. Federer has always been a favorite of mine, but he's got an embarrassment of Grand Slam riches and here's Monfils—a guy who looks like he's on the verge of putting it all together and making the most of his talent.
After losing the first two sets, Federer still wasn't ready to go down easily, and he won a tough third set. The two players battled back and forth throughout the fourth set but the final turning point was right around the corner, as Federer served at 4-5 to stay in the match. He faced down two match points and managed to hold his serve for 5-5. That signaled the beginning of the end for Monfils, who started to crumble from there. He donated his next service game, tossing two double faults and then Federer held easily to even the match at two sets apiece. The fifth set was a rout, and when the dust cleared Roger Federer had come out on top, though this was perhaps the best match I've ever seen Monfils play.
It was the first time Roger had rallied from two sets down since Wimbledon 2012 where he came back to beat Julien Benneteau.
Share a Coke with…
For the second match in a row, Gael Monfils enjoyed some Coke on a changeover. By my count, he downed two cans of Coke during his match with Roger Federer. It didn't help him this time, but it did leave me wondering whether he has a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola.
Marin Cilic, making his return from a doping suspension, is on the rise once again. Yesterday he claimed a berth in a Slam semifinal for the second time with a big, straight sets win over Tomas Berdych. Berdych struggled throughout the match, battling himself, the wind, and Cilic's well-placed shots. Berdych even had a humorously furious exchange with the chair umpire after she correctly ruled a ball that Berdych hit was not up. Cilic's road will get tougher in his next match, as he'll have to face Roger Federer.
Hitting the Century Mark
Bob and Mike Bryan, who are in pursuit of the 100th career doubles title, won their semifinal match yesterday and advanced to the finals. Capturing such a milestone at their home Slam would probably only sweeten the deal. They'll face off against Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.
Hingis Returns to Final
Wait, what? Nope, you read it right, except it's the doubles final. Fifteen years after her last appearance in a US Open final, Martina Hingis and her partner Flavia Pennetta beat Cara Black and Sania Mirza to advance to the final against Ekaterina Makarova (who beat Azarenka on Wednesday in singles) and Elena Vesnina.