U.S. Open Report: A Look At Monday’s Play

By Richard Kent
Updated: September 1, 2008

NEW YORK — Monday at the Open featured a match between American Mardy Fish and France’s Gael Monfils, who was a semifinalist at the French Open this year.

The match was for a trip to the quarterfinals at the Open, a place that neither player had ever advanced. It was also a special day for Monfils, as it was his 22nd birthday.

However, Fish won in straight sets (7-5, 6-2, 6-2) to advance to the quarterfinals and a meeting with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. Monfils was off balance a lot during the match.

Fish came to the net constantly and Monfils could not counter that unexpected move. CBS commentator John McEnroe called Monfils’ performance “a huge disappointment.”

Monfils is loaded with talent and was the No. 1 junior in the world in 2004, winning the Wimbledon, French Open and Australian Open Juniors before losing to Andy Murray at the U.S. Open Juniors.

Fish had advanced to Monday’s match with a win over his best friend and fellow American, James Blake. Monfils had previously beaten seventh-seeded David Nalbandian.

Later on in the day, Venus Williams had a surprisingly easy 6-1, 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. The teenager was supposed to give her a better match. Williams did have 33 unforced errors.

In the first night match, Serena Williams beat Severine Bremond of France 6-2, 6-2. She was never tested and served 69% for the match. The wins set up a surprise quarterfinal match-up Wednesday evening between the sisters.

The Williams sisters rarely play that early in tournaments and at Wimbledon they played in the Finals, won by Venus. The two are 8-8 all-time in matches but Serena has a 5-2 edge in majors.

If their rankings were higher, they would have played later in the tournament. One of the reasons for the lower rankings is that they have played in very few matches this year.