• Brands downs Monfils, into Doha semifinals

    1/3/13 3:11 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Brands downs Monfils, into Doha semifinals Gael Monfils' relatively positive week in Doha comes to an abrupt halt on Thursday, but Daniel Brands' run continues. Brands wins in straight sets and is through to the semifinals.

    Daniel Brands fired 27 winners and stormed back from a big second-set deficit to overwhelm Gael Monfils 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Thursday afternoon. Brands advanced in one hour and three minutes and he now awaits either Richard Gasquet or Lukas Lacko.

    Monfils, who missed four months due to knee problems last season, was coming off an impressive three-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in round two but his momentum was wiped out swiftly and decisively. Brands converted both of his break chances in the first set and faced none on his own serve as he took a commanding lead.

    It looked like Monfils would be able to turn the tide when he stormed to leads of 4-1 and 5-2 in the second.

    The 77th-ranked Frenchman, however, simply could not hold off an in-form opponent. From 0-30 down in the eighth game of the set, Brands won 20 of the match's last 24 points. The 153rd-ranked German, who had to qualify just to get into the main draw, broke at 3-5 and 5-5 before serving out the proceedings at love.

    "I'm speechless," Brands said after striking five aces and winning 13 of 16 points at the net. "I played an unbelievable match. My plan was to play with pressure and aggressive. I'm just happy and looking forward to the next match tomorrow."

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