9/21/12 2:37 AM | Ricky Dimon
Gael Monfils edges Nicolas Mahut in two close sets on Thursday in Metz. Monfils is joined in the quarterfinals by Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated Benoit Paire in three.
(7) Gael Monfils d. Nicolas Mahut 7-6(4), 7-5
Monfils has gotten off to two consecutive slow starts in his return to tennis, trailing by a break in the first set in each of his matches, but he still hasn't lost a set en route to the Moselle Open quarterfinals. The injury-plagued Frenchman, who overcame Olivier Rochus in round one, defeated compatriot Nicolas Mahut on Thursday evening in a well-played match that lasted one hour and 41 minutes.
Mahut led 4-1 and had a 0-30 lead on his opponent's serve in the sixth game, but that's went it all turned around. Monfils managed to hold, eventually got the break back, then forced a tiebreaker. The world No. 44 took the decider seven points to four before earning a late scalp of the Mahut serve in set two to seal the deal in straights. Next up for Monfils is a showdown with Philipp Kohlschreiber.
(2) Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Benoit Paire 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
Kohlschreiber had defeated Paire in a fifth-set tiebreaker at the U.S. Open, and another back-and-forth affair went the German's way on Thursday night in Metz. Playing in front of his own French fans, Paire recovered from a poor first set to dominate the second. The world No. 51 lost a mere four points in four service games as Kohlschreiber seemed to mentally prepare for a third.
It was a risk that worked for Kohlschreiber, who had no trouble in the decider. The No. 2 seed won the last five games starting at 1-1 as Paire completely lost the plot both with his game and emotionally. Kohlschreiber saved five of seven break points while capitalizing on four of six chances to advance in one hour and 27 minutes.
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