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Monfils makes his strategy work at French Open

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm •  Published: May 31, 2014

PARIS (AP) — Leading two sets to one but already down a break in the fourth, Gael Monfils decided he needed to catch his breath.

So he tanked the set. Lost it 6-0. Didn't even try.

And his strategy worked perfectly.

The 23rd-seeded Frenchman advanced to the fourth round at the French Open by beating Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 in a match that had a combined 137 unforced errors and one penalty point.

"He (broke) me straight away. Somehow I was starting to struggle a little bit, not cramping, but I feel really tired," Monfils said of his fourth-set tactics. "And then I tried to break back. Couldn't break back.

"It's, like, I want to serve first in the fifth. So, I mean, the only option I had is to take 6-love. Why should I make any effort?"

In the fifth set, Monfils jumped out to a 3-0 lead, earning the last point for free when Fognini was penalized for throwing his racket in frustration following a forehand that went wide. The racket landed near a ball boy.

Still sulking after the penalty point was ordered, it was Fognini's turn to slow things down.

The Italian called for a medical timeout to have his left thigh massaged and taped, drawing boos from the French crowd.

"I called the physio because I was feeling, during the fourth set, some pain on my left quad and nothing more," Fognini said.

Monfils, who lost to Fognini in five sets at Roland Garros in 2010, said there was more to it than that.

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