20 September, 2016
Monfils is on an impressive 19-2 run since Wimbledon but admits he's the underdog against Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion playing in a 10th successive semi-final in NY.
Djokovic took the match 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-2 as the crowd fell in and out of love with the erratic play of Monfils.
Djokovic, who beat Roger Federer to claim the 2015 title, moved into a 2-0 lead with an early break in the third set, but as in the first set, when faced with a seemingly impossible situation Monfils conjured up his best tennis of the match.
Monfils admitted he came into the match thinking it was a potential strategy for him to use, referencing the fact he'd never beaten Djokovic in a singles match before, and said he even motioned to his coaches that he was shifting to "Plan B" after falling down 5-0 in that first set.
Having held serve to get on the board at 5-1, Monfils seized on a disgruntled Djokovic's unease at the big screens being in operation to break back and get into the set after Djokovic had uncharacteristically wasted a couple of set points.
The world number 12 gave a passionate defence of his performance and insisted he was simply aiming to unsettle his opponent. Within 20 minutes he was 5-0 up, carving methodically into his opponent's self-belief.
About his approach to the final, he then said, 'I have an extra day now to recover and get ready for the finals, which is where definitely I desire to be whenever I come to the Grand Slam. "I will try to take this challenge". I think I try my best every time. But the guy is too good. By the conclusion of the 2-hour, 7-minute final, Pliskova totaled 47 unforced errors, 30 more than Kerber.
Novak's lack of any sort of a real test here in NY this fortnight will either help or hinder him and it does seem to be the case that fortune tends to favour the elite players, so I think we at least have to lay some of the Monfils bet off here.
Del Potro, the US Open victor from 2009, played some of his best tennis this tournament and recently won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics, but it'll be back to the drawing board for him. I had to change a little bit.
"Everyone is like, 'Play tennis like this".
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Plus, something - he won't say exactly what - has been going on with his right arm, which was massaged and manipulated by a trainer during the first and fourth rounds. "Of course, I'm disappointed that I lost in the first round, but that's sport and that always can happen", Kerber said.
The American later added: "You can't support that, I'm sorry. It doesn't bring much respect among fellow players in the locker room, none".
When McEnroe's comments were put to Monfils, he said: "I like John". I think it worked. After two hours and 32 minutes that seemed twice that long, the victor was nursing two sore shoulders, which might yet hobble him on Sunday, and a brain that surely was hurting as much.
"The first question is like you're not competing".
Djokovic endured problems of his own during the match as the Serb again had to take treatment in the latter stages, this time on both of his shoulders.
"It was a unusual match, as it always is, I guess, when you play Gael, who is a very unpredictable player", said Djokovic, who twice called for the trainer to work on his shoulders, first his left and then his right.
Asked whether he had any concern about the lack of match competition over the past two weeks, Djokovic replied: "Not really".
When Djokovic completed his career Grand Slam at the French Open in June, it also gave him four major trophies in a row, something last accomplished almost 50 years ago.
"If I would get to the net he would go for the passing shot and hit some impossible gets and balls". "It felt nice because my body could breathe a little bit more". Monfils looked as if he could barely bother to be on court, started soft-balling, a la Arthur Ashe v Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final.
"I had phases when I was entertained by what he's doing and phases where I was upset with myself for allowing him to do whatever he does to disturb my game and my rhythm", said Djokovic.