Shanghai: Fifth seed Roger Federer was dumped out of the Shanghai Open, losing to Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 3-6 in the third round on Thursday, while top seed Novak Djokovic advanced easily.
Federer, playing his first tournament since the US Open, started in the worst possible way, tamely losing his first service game to hand the initiative to Monfils. The Frenchman then went on to take the opener.
Despite vocal support from a partisan crowd, Federer was broken midway through the second set but he broke back, sealing the game with an overhead smash.
Monfils, clad in bright orange, drew first blood in the tie-break but crucially put a relatively straightforward forehand long when he had a chance to engineer match points, allowing Federer back into the set and the Swiss made no mistake.
With both players sticking to a plan of all-out attack, Monfils grabbed the initiative, breaking to take a 3-1 lead and managed to save the break points that Federer carved out before going on to seal the match.
Federer, who made early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open, came to Shanghai seeking much-needed points as he bids to reach next month’s World Tour Finals, which he has won a record six times.
“I knew that I choked on this forehand at 5-4 (in the tie-break),” Monfils said. “Then I changed my ideas because I was maybe nervous, too. Even (though) I was tired, I tried to play more aggressively sometimes, going more for my shots and it worked.
“It’s a good win for me. I feel a bit sorry for him because I know he’s running for London. But it’s tennis. He’s going to have more opportunity (in) those weeks coming up.”
Monfils will play top seed and defending champion Djokovic in the quarter finals after the Serb defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-3, while sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, German Florian Mayer and Nicolas Almagro of Spain have also advanced.
Del Potro went through after German Tommy Haas withdrew due to injury, while Tsonga beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 7-6 (5), 6-0.
Mayer beat 2011 runner-up David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3 while Almagro beat Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych in three sets.