More people are going to be highly anticipating the match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the 2015 Monte Carlo Semi-finals, but the one between Tomas Berdych and Gael Monfils promises to be just as exciting.
Just a day earlier, Monfils had recorded his biggest win of the season over World No. 2Roger Federer, while Dimitrov came into the contest also in good form, having swept past defending champion Stan Wawrinka for the loss of just three games.
But a spate of unforced errors proved costly for Dimitrov as he struggled to find top form in the second match of the day. The first set lasted just 22 minutes, with Monfils capitalizing on 22 unforced errors from Dimitrov to break serve three times. The 14th seed swiftly established a 5-2 lead in the second set and went on to close out victory in 58 minutes.
“Today, I wanted to make him run a lot, left [to] right, left [to] right [on] a lot of points,” said Monfils. “I tried to dictate with my forehand, move him around the court, short [and] back. I was like trying to play very deep and very high and heavy to tell him: ‘Grigor, you need to stay back.'”
The 28-year-old Monfils is through to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final since reaching the final of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris Bercy five years ago. On that occasion, he finished runner-up to Robin Soderling.
The right-hander is bidding to reach his second final of the season, after losing out to Gilles Simon in the Marseille title match. He has a 16-5 record on the season.
Monfils will look to overturn a 1-5 record against Tomas Berdych in Saturday’s semi-finals, having already lost to the Czech twice this year.
Berdych advanced to the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the third time when Milos Raonic was forced to retire from their contest with a foot injury. Berdych had been leading 5-2.
“So far everything is going well,” said Berdych. “My preparation is really good. I’ve done as much as I could, playing on the clay right after the Miami, which is a good sign for me. I’m able to execute it in the matches.”
The Czech is through to his 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final and improved to a 26-6 match record on the season. Working with new coach, Dani Vallverdu, this season, Berdych has finished runner-up in Doha (l. to Ferrer) and Rotterdam (l. to Wawrinka) and also reached the Australian Opensemi-finals (l. to Murray).