By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Dan Evans v Gael Monfils [3] | Monfils leads H2H 1-0
  • The Brit hasn’t beaten a Top 10 opponent since his win over John Isner in Delray Beach last year
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – The British No. 1 Dan Evans aims to seal his fourth career ATP semifinal, the first above the 250 level

 

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Dan Evans v Gael Monfils [3] | Monfils leads H2H 1-0

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Dan Evans played three ATP semifinals in his whole career, in three 250 events: 2014 Zagreb, 2017 Sydney, 2019 Delray Beach. Since then, he hasn’t moved to that stage and hasn’t beaten a Top 10 player. The World No.33 must play the perfect match against World No. 9 Gael Monfils to seal his biggest ATP semifinal so far.

The Frenchman, aiming to become the first player since Robin Soderling to win two straight titles in the opening ATP 500 event of the season, dominated the proceedings to collect his third win in ten meetings against his countryman Gilles Simon in the second round.

After the first two seeds Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out, the title-holder looks like the main candidate to be crowned again in Rotterdam. Here, he has won 11 of his last 12 matches at Rotterdam, having reached also the final four years ago, in 2016.

The No. 3 seed is currently on a six-match winning streak, having won the Montpellier title for the third time in his career on Sunday. That was his ninth career ATP Tour singles title. By reaching the title-match, Monfils has made at least one singles ATP Tour Final since 2005 (16 years in a row), the second-longest streak among active players behind Roger Federer.

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Monfils is in undeniably stunning form. The Frenchman looks eager to abandon his charismatic, energetic style, his game full of athletic brilliance, hot-shots, and inconsistencies. He has clearly worked on his ups and downs and made his conduct more efficient.

The new surface looks slower than it was last season and could probably suit Evans’ unorthodox game. The Brit managed to use down-the-line forehands and backhands to frustrate the power-hitting Karen Khachanov. He won’t predictably create the same edge recurring to his low sliced backhands against the elastic Frenchman used to flash around the court looking like a breakdancer. His sensational footwork and his counterpunching abilities should make the difference.

Prediction: Monfils in straight sets

 

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