DUBAI: Gael Monfils continued his charmed run at the Dubai Championships on Thursday after battling into the semi-finals with a 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2 win over qualifier Ricardas Berankis.
The Frenchman, who came into the tournament in good form after beating Stan Wawrinka in Rotterdam this month to win his eighth career title, will face one of Hubert Hurkacz and Stefanos Tsitsipas in Friday’s semi-final after the unexpectedly tight win.
Unseeded Monfils, 32, revealed that he needed to get angry with himself to get over the line after missing chances to close out a straight-sets victory when setup and leading the second 5-4.
“It was tough mentally, I was upset that I didn’t finish it (then). I had to get angry to find the energy to come back,” he said after coming from a break down to storm the final set.
“I was playing flat, I knew I had to do something.
“My opponent was very brave, he went for his shots, came to the net and made it difficult.”
Monfils’ performance dipped drastically after ripping through the opening set in 23 minutes, losing the second and re-discovering his game only just in time to claim the victory.
In the end it took nearly two hours for the world number 23 to beat Berankis, ranked 113 in the world and playing his first quarter-final since October.
Roger Federer continues his chase for his 100th career title later on Thursday when he takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.