Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 22nd 2014 Contents A59
Saturday, November 22, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LILLE---Roger Federer s valiant attempt to shake
off a back injury backfired spectacularly when the
Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion was swept
aside by Gael Monfils as France leveled the Davis
Cup final at 1-1 yesterday.
Monfils triumphed 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and posted his
first win on clay over Federer, who decided to play
despite the injury that forced him to pull out of the
title match at the ATP Finals last Sunday.
Federer had only two short training sessions earlier
this week and looked out of sorts while Monfils hit
France levels tie against
Switzerland in Davis Cup
France's Gael Monfils
celebrates a winning point as he
plays Switzerland's Roger Federer
during the Davis Cup final in Lille,
northern France, yesterday.
Monfils won 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. AP PHOTO
44 winners including ten aces. The Swiss, who is
chasing a maiden win in the team competition,
dropped his serve five times and could not convert
the two break points he earned.
It was a stark contrast to Federer s superb display
in London last week, where he eased past opponents
but hurt his back during his semifinal victory over
Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka. Federer, how-
ever, said switching from hard court to clay and being
short of practice was the main reason for his loss,
rather than pain.
"Clearly I did feel, not having hit and played and
moved at all for five days, and Gael did play well,"
he said. "It s not like I couldn t play at all. It was a
proper match, and he was the better player at the
Federer believes he needs to spend more time on
court to rediscover his game and is ready for Saturday s
"I would be ready to do that if ever it s the best
choice," the 33-year-old said. "As I said before, I m
waiting for better things this weekend. I m coming
out of the match without any pain, which is good,
too. It was not a five setter with me totally exhaust-
Earlier, Wawrinka had put the Swiss ahead by
beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Monfils sealed his win in less than two hours on
his first match point with a backhand down the line,
getting a measure of revenge after his tough loss to
the Swiss in the quarterfinals at the US Open, when
the Frenchman lost in five sets after going up two
sets to one and failing to convert two match points.
"That helped me a lot. At the US I changed my
game plan, I was like very close. I was like dominating
him most of the match. Then maybe I had little
nerves at the end," Monfils said. "Today was a bit
of the same, but I played much better, I had a different
game plan and I delivered a more aggressive tennis."
If Federer plays the doubles, he will be teaming
up with Wawrinka. The Australian Open champion
started strong against Tsonga and overcame a sec-
ond-set lapse by regaining control of the opening
singles match with an aggressive display that paid
off. Wawrinka, who scored 25 points at the net, closed
out the match with a winning volley, then pointed
to his head with his index finger, his trademark cel-
Wawrinka took control of rallies with his deep
groundstrokes. He converted his second break point
for a 3-1 lead as he won eight consecutive points and
took the Frenchman s serve again.
Tsonga had to fight hard in the opening game of
the second set to hold after saving another break
point with a fierce smash before one of the 27,432
spectators---a record for a Davis Cup match---shouted
"Crybaby, cry," a reference to the word reportedly
yelled by Federer s wife at Wawrinka last weekend
during the ATP Finals semi between the Swiss pair.
Wawrinka did not react but his play dropped off
while Tsonga started to serve better. He put the Swiss
under pressure in the fourth game with a series of
good returns and Wawrinka handed him the break
with a double fault.
Tsonga stayed in control to level the tie at one set
apiece but showed his nerves in the sixth game of
the third set, hitting three unforced errors including
a double fault to drop his serve.
The fourth-ranked Swiss continued to put Tsonga
on the back foot by taking all the risks on his oppo-
nent s second serve and broke immediately with
another superb backhand at the start of the fourth
set. He frustrated Tsonga with a series of backhand
and forehand winners in the seventh game as the
Frenchman dropped his serve again.
Switzerland is bidding for its first Davis Cup title,
while France is seeking its tenth. This is the 13th
meeting between the teams, with France leading 10-
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