France are guaranteed a man in the semi-finals of the US Open 2016 after Gael Monfils and Lucas Pouille made impressive runs so far in the tournament. Monfils, Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made history by it being the first time that three Frenchmen reached the quarter-finals of a grand slam event.
Monfils has long been held as an underachiever with accusations of style over substance but this looks to have changed with Gael having an impressive year to date. He is eighth in the race and would be at least sixth with a win – one step above his career high ranking of 7. Monfils is 12-0 in sets this fortnight with his most recent win coming over Marcos Baghdatis. He broke the Cypriot veteran seven times in the 6-3 6-2 6-3 win and looks highly focused right now.
While Monfils is winning easy matches without dropping sets, Pouille is winning in far more dramatic circumstances with three straight five setters. Having had to come from behind in sets in the previous two, it was a different experience for Pouille who held 1-0 and 2-1 sets leads over Rafael Nadal only to falter and find himself down a break in set five. He came through in a fifth set tiebreak, being eternally grateful for a shocking miss at 6-6 in the tiebreak by Nadal.
With Monfils taking no prisoners in his run so far and Pouille having had lengthy matches all week, it seems that Pouille may eventually run out of steam. An inspired and focused Monfils taking on Djokovic in the semi-finals would be an intriguing clash if it were to happen.
Prediction – Gael Monfils in four sets