Gael-force Monfils blows France back into final

Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:29pm EST
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By Julien Pretot

LILLE France (Reuters) - Gael Monfils rose to the occasion as he upset Roger Federer 6-1 6-4 6-3 to help France level the Davis Cup final with Switzerland 1-1 on Friday.

After Stan Wawrinka had given the Swiss a 1-0 lead by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2, Monfils was at his best against the world number two who has struggled recently with back problems.

Federer missed training this week after being forced to withdraw from his ATP World Tour Final against Novak Djokovic in London on Sunday.

"Clearly I did feel that I had not hit and played and moved at all for five days, and Gael played well," Federer told a news conference.

"It's not like I couldn't play at all. Those who saw the match saw that it was a proper match and he was the better player at the end."

Monfils, who had never beaten Federer on clay in four previous encounters, won five games in a row as he whizzed through the first set.

Struggling with his serve, the Swiss was broken again in the third game of the second set and his French rival showed no sign of weakening, sending his opponent chasing balls left, right and center.

It was not game over yet, though, as Federer beat Monfils in five sets in this year's U.S. Open quarter-finals after dropping the first two.   Continued...

France's Gael Monfils reacts during their Davis Cup final singles tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, November 21, 2014.     REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes