For his first match on the ATP circuit since Roland-Garros, Gaël Monfils was eliminated in the first round of the Atlanta tournament in the tie-break of the third set by Thanasi Kokkinakis.
His narrowly lost semi-final against Taylor Fritz on Sunday in Los Angeles during the UTS, this competition-exhibition with very specific rules organized by Patrick Mouratoglou, had shown that Gaël Monfils was well and truly healed from his wrist injury which occurred during his epic match against Sebastian Baez in the first round of Roland-Garros.
But even if the form has returned, it is still not enough to win on the ATP circuit. This Monday, the world No. 322, invited by the organizers, made his debut in the Atlanta tournament, and he lost on the wire against Thanasi Kokkinakis (86th), whom he had beaten at the start of 2022 in Adelaide. The Australian won 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 in 2h03 of play at the end of this match which may leave the French with regrets.
Monfils led 4-0 in the tie-break
Gaël Monfils delivered an excellent first set. He was not worried on his serve, not having the slightest break point to defend, and took the face-off from his opponent at 2-1 and 4-1, each time on his second opportunity. But the French failed to keep up the pace, and was broken in his first service game of the second set, on Kokkinakis’ very first opportunity. The Australian then proved to be solid on his face-off and did not leave the slightest opportunity to “La Monf”.
Everything was decided in the third set, where the players generally held their serve well (no break point). In the decisive game, Monfils started with a bang, leading 4-0 then 5-3. And suddenly, the black hole! He lost four points in a row and thus allowed Kokkinakis to win. What regrets! It is the Australian who will challenge his compatriot Alex de Minaur in the second round, while Monfils will be heading to Washington, where he is also invited by the organizers next week. Since his return from injury in early March, the 36-year-old Frenchman has won only one match on the ATP circuit (the one against Baez at Roland-Garros) and one on the Challenger circuit. A meager balance…