ibnlive » Tennis

Jun 03, 2009 at 11:39pm IST

Federer silences Monfils to book semis spot

Paris: World No. 2 Roger Federer was back to his brilliant best as he eased past local favourite Gael Monfils 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 to book his place in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

The Swiss will play his 20th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final against either Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro or Spain's Tommy Robredo, seeded 16th.

After three successive matches in which he dropped sets, Federer finally found his groove on Wednesday, much to the frustration of Monfils.

SAYING GOOD BYE: Roger Federer (R) shakes hands with Gael Monfils after their French Open quarter-final match.

Federer, the hot favourite after four-times champion Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the fourth round, saved a set point in the first-set tiebreak before clinching it 8-6 with a forehand volley winner.

It was then much easier for the Swiss, who is gunning for the only major title to have eluded him.

He broke Monfils in the first and third games of the second set, moving the 11th-seeded Frenchman from left to right and often finishing off the points at the net.

Monfils called on the trainer at change of ends before the decider as he appeared to be in distress.

Federer, who is chasing a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam crown, snatched the decisive break in the ninth game when the Frenchman netted a forehand.

He put him out of his misery on his first match point with a backhand winner after two hours 10 minutes.

"I was very nervous before this match, yesterday and today," said Federer.

"But I have a lot of experience. I know that when I step on the court, I will play well. Or very well," he said.

Federer ran into a spot of bother when he contested a call following a Monfils dropshot that appeared to be wide.

He was briefly booed by the 15,000-capacity Centre Court crowd but normal service quickly resumed. "It is very important to me, to have the crowd with me," he said.