Monfils chides Gasquet for buckling under pressure

Mon Sep 6, 2010 6:04pm EDT
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By Matt Majendie

NEW YORK (Reuters) - France's Gael Monfils overpowered Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 7-5 in a fourth-round encounter at the U.S. Open Monday and then chided his compatriot for buckling under pressure.

Monfils, the number 17 seed, praised Gasquet as the stronger player before the pair stepped on court but then had little trouble during the two-hour, 35-minute affair.

Gasquet had a chance to serve for the second set but his form dramatically eluded him and, with it, his chance to advance at the year's final grand slam.

Monfils was all smiles with his close friend after the match - the pair exchanged kisses on either cheek on court - but he laid into his rival afterward.

"With the first set point he had in second set, he could have passed me easy but he showed me at that time he was not that good mentally," said Monfils. "He showed me he was, I won't say weak, but it was like a bit shaky.

"So I tried to be very tough and very hard with him, showing him that I'm the man and I'm the leader. I tried to get him a bit in the head, to show him I was strong.

"Richard doesn't really like pressure like that... so I just played with that, played a bit with his mind and that was it."

Monfils was the fan favorite from the moment he stepped on court at Louis Armstrong Stadium and, when the noise of the crowd dropped slightly, he whipped them into a frenzy.   Continued...

<p>Gael Monfils of France hits a return to compatriot Richard Gasquet during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz</p>