Gaël Monfils wants to continue his good run at Indian Wells against Casper Ruud

The battle was tough: 3 hours 12 minutes on court in the Californian desert, three sets, and, at the finish, a new prestigious victory for Gaël Monfils (6-7, 7-6, 6-3)

Gaël Monfils wants to continue his good run at Indian Wells against Casper Ruud

The battle was tough: 3 hours 12 minutes on court in the Californian desert, three sets, and, at the finish, a new prestigious victory for Gaël Monfils (6-7, 7-6, 6-3). Monday March 11, the French snatched his ticket for the round of 16 of the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells to the detriment of the British Cameron Norrie, 28th player in the world in the ATP ranking and winner of the tournament in 2021. As usual, “La Monf » put on the show, to the delight of the audience. But will the 37-year-old French veteran have left too many precious physical resources in this fight?

Wednesday March 13, at 7 p.m., he meets Casper Ruud (9th in the world) to try to match his best result in Indian Wells (quarter-finals in 2016 and 2019). The Norwegian is still quite a client: double finalist of Roland Garros (2022, 2023), finalist of the US Open (2022) and the Masters (2022) – tournament which pits the eight best tennis players in the ATP rankings at the end of the season . In the previous round, Ruud dismissed another Frenchman, Arthur Fils, 19, in a very controlled match: 6-2, 6-4. Since the start of the year, he has already had two tournament finals (Cabo San Lucas, ATP 250, and Acapulco, ATP 500).

Gaël Monfils is certainly in good form at the moment, after having experienced a long series of physical problems. Four months after his success at the Stockholm tournament (ATP 250) in October 2023, he played a semi-final in Doha (ATP 250) in February. In California, he has already offered himself a representative of the Top 10, the Pole Hubert Hurkacz (8th), in the second round (6-0, 6-7, 6-2). Currently 54th in the world, he is now certain to enter at least the Top 50 of the world rankings next week.

The Paris Games in the viewfinder

The fact remains that on Monday, against Cameron Norrie, the Parisian had difficulty on his serve and accumulated 12 double faults. One of them cost him the tie-break of the first set (6-7). Accustomed to reversals of situations, he saved 21 break points, conceding only three times. Led 7-6 then 3-0, Monfils came back with his usual touch of madness, bringing out the spoon serve to hang on and win the second tie-break of the game (7-6).

“I didn’t have a great match but I managed to get through it, that’s confidence, being able to win without feeling at your best,” he declared after his victory. In the end I wasn't so bad physically. It feels good to test yourself a little. I was happy to feel stable in the battle. »

The last French representative in the men's table, Monfils would like to extend the Californian adventure a little. Especially since this helps to keep him in a good place in the race for the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11). The Parisian is currently the 3rd Frenchman in this “race”, behind Ugo Humbert and Adrian Mannarino – the Tricolores have a total of four places.

“The first time I talked about it [his participation in the Olympics], people laughed. When I said it, I was almost 400th [394th at the end of May 2023]. People said to me: “Damn, La Monf!” And then, suddenly... But hey, today, I don't even think about it. We'll talk about it later. It’s an objective, but it’s medium term. The short term is to win matches, to move up the rankings,” declared the person concerned to L’Equipe, before his victorious duel against Norrie.