Open secret, Gael Monfils is an extraordinary tennis player and on the upper scale in terms of entertainment. But… there is always a but…. he seems content with that aspect of the game, putting smiles on fans’ faces without going for the big tournaments. I get that, some players are satisfied with reaching a last 8 or last 16 collect a pay check then head home. For me it is a waste because of the potential Gael has. I believe he has a grand slam or two left in him. In this last 16 match in Vienna he faces Argentine Diego Schwartzman a guy comfortable on clay so should be home in the slower(I am tired of saying this again)hard court.Diego’s return is one of the best in the game but Gael’s defense ranks up there as well. Watch 4-3(30-30) crunch time in the first set. Gael loses the point but his staying power in points is clear for all to see. Diego’s short height is a definite advantage in terms of movement around the court not so on the serve as clearly shown by the match stats. Just 3 Aces for the match although he serves pretty accurately with a 70% first serve rate. Watch the big backhand down the line to clinch a close breaker at 6-5. Gael, I am afraid, played right into Diego’s game on the baseline. Instead I would have loved to have seen more serve and volleying from the Frenchman to unsettle the Argentine.

The win for Diego here is a great win but the conversion of break point opportunities wasn’t all that great. Of the 13 opportunities he got he only converted 5. The point of the match(ultimately the feel good moment of Vienna 2021) was at 5-3(30-30) Diego serving to stay in the set. Gael being bullied into a baseline grinding match again with the same result, loss of the point. Great defense exhibited by the Frenchman though particularly than forehand defensive shot. Great sportsmanship shown at the end with the point . Game played the right way(see that Russell Westbrook). The middle set going to Gael 6-4, hitting the same shot as Diego hit to win the first set on set point, the big backhand down the line

In the third, Monfils crushed and burned on the fifth game at 3-2 down on his serve. At advantage Schwartzman,the forehand that hit the net was wrong on so many respects. Here is the mini of it. One, footwork was like he was trying to stay on his feet on a banana skin. Two, instead of going over the ball he went through it, so no top spin on the ball. That sealed his fate with regards to the match. The double break sealing the victory for Diego at 5-2. At 15-40 down Gael had the point firmly in control finding the corners with the forehand ground strokes. The error at the end there was as unwelcome as it was unexpected. Schwartzman will face France Tiafoe in the last eight after the American qualifier upset number one seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on the same court.