Monfils, Querrey, Dolgopolov, Melzer advance at Winston-Salem
By Bill Kiser ,APWINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Gael Monfils once ranked among the world's top 10 players, beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to advance to the Winston-Salem Open semifinals.
August 24, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The 43rd-ranked Frenchman will face Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine, a 7-6 (7), 6-3 winner over Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan.
“It's always good to be in the semifinals, especially after two big wins,” Monfils said. “(Verdasco is) very aggressive, hitting lots of winners and making lots of mistakes. It makes you play a bit different.”
In the evening session at the Wake Forest Tennis Center, American Sam Querrey beat unseeded Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-3, 6-4 in the final hard-court tournament before next week's U.S. Open.
Monfils, a touring pro since 2004, was once ranked as high as No. 7 in the world at the end of the 2011 season. But a knee injury forced him to miss the final four months of the 2012 schedule, dropping him as low as No. 119 as he tried playing his way back into shape.
Then, the Frenchman missed another month on the tour dealing with ankle and bicep injuries, with the Winston-Salem Open his first tournament action since the forced break.
Against Verdasco, Monfils had key service breaks in the second and third sets to move into a tournament semifinal round for the fifth time this season.
“I'm pretty happy with how things are going,” said Monfils, who had seven aces and just one double fault. “Hopefully, I can keep winning and try to get back into shape.”
In beating Lu, the 38th-ranked Dolgopolov overcame a knuckle injury on his left hand to advance to a semifinal for the first time this season.