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Monfils has French dreaming of crown

GAEL Monfils watched Andy Roddick squirm for almost two hours before he put the American sixth seed out of his misery on Monday to become the only Frenchman to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals.

Monfils, who dismissed the American sixth seed 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, was left as the only player carrying the French flag into the last eight after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Virginie Razzano were eliminated on Monday.

Tsonga, the ninth seed, was clueless against Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, losing 1-6, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 4-6, while Razzano was dismantled 1-6, 2-6 by Australian Samantha Stosur.

Aravane Rezai lost 1-6, 0-6 to world No. 1 Dinara Safina on Sunday.

Monfils, seeded 11th, will now be gunning for revenge when he takes on Roger Federer as last year the Swiss prevented him from becoming the first Frenchman to reach the final since Henri Leconte in 1988.

Federer beat Monfils in four sets in the semifinals.

Monfils, who almost pulled out of the tournament because of a knee injury, treated the Suzanne Lenglen Court crowd with lobs, drop shots and stunt-man style diving as Roddick progressively lost his nerve.

At 5-2 in the second set, Roddick complained about the fading light as dusk fell over Paris. "Don't tell me what's okay, I'm the one playing. When we started what did the sky look like? Now look up in the sky and tell me what's changed," an angry Roddick challenged the umpire.

After Monfils saved three break points and clinched the set, the 2003 US Open champion said: "I'm having trouble seeing the ball."

The players were asked to continue the match and the Frenchman urged the partisan crowd to cheer him on after almost every point.

He clinched victory on Roddick's serve when the American netted a volley.

"It is fantastic, it is a great moment," said Monfils, who was looking forward to a second Roland Garros meeting with world No. 2 Federer.

"There is a feeling of deja vu. With such a crowd behind me, I hope to shine even more.

"My ambition is to win the next match. I want to go step by step. I now need to recuperate."


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