Second seed Roger Federer fought back from two sets down to reach the semi-finals of the US Open on Thursday.
The Swiss number one fended off two match points in the fourth set to draw level with the 20th seed Frenchman before closing it out 4-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-2 in the evening session of the bottom half of the men’s singles on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The five-time champion will play Croatian, Marin Cilic, who advanced earlier in the day with a 6-2 6-4 7-6 (4) win over Cxech Republic’s Tomas Berdych.
“I’m looking forward to playing Marin,” he said. “He’s a great guy. We had a tough, tough match in Toronto. I think I needed nine match points to close him out and beat him at midnight, 6-4 in the third, so we know what to expect.”
Federer was playing in his 10 quarter-finals in Flushing Meadows and knew it would take hard labour to outwit Monfils, who- just like himself- was yet to drop a point en route through to the last 8.
The world No. 24 overcame a shaky first service game, going on to save two break points to take the lead 4-2 on his fourth break point in the opening set.
He broke the 17-time Grand Slam champion’s serve for a second time to open up the second set, but twisted his right ankle in the ensuing game. That was not going to deter Monfils as he held serve again to edge just a set closer to his second semi-finals appearance in a major (since Roland Garros 2008).
The 33-year-old Swiss finally broke to open the third set, as he began showcasing his aggressive approach to games, a characteristic feature of his 2014 season, notably going from losing serve in the fourth game to recovering the lead and forcing a first set off Monfils 6-4.
Now seeming to have gathered momentum, Federer grabbed an early 2-1 lead in the fourth set, but Monfils broke back and overcame a break point in the next game when his opponents’ forehand went wide. A pair of unforced errors from the Swiss’s racquet brought up double match point for Monfils at 5-4, but Federer reeled off four straight points to bring the crowd to its feet.
The 20th seed double-faulted twice to hand Federer a chance to serve out the set, and could offer little resistance as the World No. 3 seized control.
After battling for two hours and 53 minutes through the first four sets, Federer needed just 27 minutes to clinch the decisive set as he limited Monfils to just 11 points total.