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Roland Garros has a new Gael-iath

Local favourite Gael Monfils reached the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 6-4 2-6 7-5 1-6 8-6 win over Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer on Monday.

india Updated: May 31, 2011 00:57 IST

Local favourite Gael Monfils reached the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 6-4 2-6 7-5 1-6 8-6 win over Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer on Monday.

The match was interrupted due to bad light on Sunday with the ninth-seeded Monfils 2-0 down in the fourth set.

He did not give much of a fight when play resumed on court Suzanne Lenglen, dropping the set in less than half an hour before regrouping.

Monfils opened a 5-2 lead in the decider but wasted two match points at 5-3 as Ferrer broke back. Monfils, however, ended the contest on his fourth match point by blazing a forehand passing winner on Ferrer's serve.

Djokovic has it easy
Second seed Novak Djokovic got a walkover into the French Open semi-finals after last eight opponent Fabio Fognini pulled out on Monday because of injury.

The pair were due to play their quarter-final on Tuesday but the Italian has not recovered from a thigh muscle problem sustained in Sunday's long five-set win over Albert Montanes.

"I have a little problem with my left left leg so I have to retire," Fognini told a news conference. "My doctors said if I play tomorrow maybe it can be dangerous."

Serbia's red-hot Djokovic is on a 41-match winning streak since the start of the year, just one behind John McEnroe's 1984 record.

His progression through the last eight will not count as part of the streak, officials confirmed, so the world number two will have to win the title for the first time if he is to break the American's record at Roland Garros.

The Australian Open champion could meet third seed and 2009 winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals if the Swiss gets through his quarter-final.

Fognini reckoned he would be fit for Wimbledon next month and did not regret not finishing the match against the Serbian favourite for the French Open title. "It's the best tournament of my career. But this is the best solution," added Fognini, who battled through to the last eight with his unusual brand of laidback tennis, almost like a boxer dropping his hands.

Rafa cruises
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal reached the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic and will next face Roland Garros bogeyman Robin Soderling.

It was another low-key display by the top-seeded Spaniard against the veteran Ljubicic before he took his Paris record to 42 wins and just one loss.

Big-swinging Swedish fifth seed Soderling, who inflicted that single shock defeat in the fourth round in 2009 before Nadal gained revenge in the 2010 final, eased past French 18th seed Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

Nadal, bidding for a sixth French Open title to take him level with Bjorn Borg's record, has looked a shadow of his usual powerful self in Paris, shaken by the super-charged form of Novak Djokovic.

"There was a lot of wind today which made it very awkward," said Nadal. "I played better in the last two sets and I am getting a little better as the tournament goes on."

First Published: May 31, 2011 00:55 IST