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Rediff.com  » Sports » Monfils warms up for French Open by dumping Hewitt

Monfils warms up for French Open by dumping Hewitt

May 26, 2007 08:53 IST

Gael Monfils continued to pick off the seeds at the Poertschach International on Friday with a 6-4, 7-5 win over fourth seed Lleyton Hewitt, setting up a final showdown with Juan Monaco.

Just 24 hours after showing second seed Andy Roddick the exit, the French wildcard ended Hewitt's challenge at the final tournament before the French Open begins on Sunday.

Argentina's Monaco, who ended defending champion Nikolay Davydenko's campaign in the quarter-finals, enjoyed a 6-4, 6-4 win over Luis Horna of Peru.

For the second week running, Hewitt fell agonisingly short of reaching the final of a claycourt event.

After losing to Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in the Hamburg semi-finals last week, Hewitt was again left ruing a wasted opportunity when he was pipped by gangly Frenchman Monfils.

"I just didn't take my chances, I had a set point in the second set, he came up with a big ace and he just played the big points a bit better than I did today," said the Australian, who has been drawn to face Belarussian Max Mirnyi in the first round in Paris.

"He's a talented player, he beat Roddick fairly comfortably yesterday, he's a tough play on clay as he moves so well.

"It's been a good week for me, played some good matches against claycourt players...hopefully I can take some of the positives from this week and from Hamburg into Paris."

The 20-year-old snatched the first set with one break and romped to a 4-2 lead in the second. 

Hewitt's battling instincts resurfaced as he fought back to go 5-4 ahead.

Inexplicably he lost momentum and allowed Monfils to win three straight games and a place in the final with a scorching ace.

"I want to win this tournament before the French, where everything will be different. There will be more pressure as it will be in front of family. I don't want to think about it before I get there," said Monfils.

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