After a lopsided tiebreaker, Djokovic fist-pumped and yelled at the end of the match that lasted 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Monfils pulled out all the stops by hitting a between-the-legs shot and throwing his racket to hit the ball, and each player tried to ignite the crowd to get louder.
“He’s probably the only guy in the world, tennis player, that I would pay a ticket to watch the match,” Djokovic said of Monfils. “He’s really fun to watch but not so much fun to play against. ... He loves jumping around, sliding, he’s very unpredictable. You don’t know what his next move is, so that’s why he’s so interesting.”
Monfils didn’t endear himself to fans by arguing with chair umpire Gerry Armstrong after receiving a time violation, even as they were captivated by his dazzling play on the court. As a result, Djokovic had support behind him as he came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third set.
“In a way it was fun, of course, and entertaining to be part of this match,” said Djokovic, who will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round. “I enjoyed it.”
|Novak Djokovic returns against Gael Monfils at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap)|
By avoiding what would’ve been the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, Djokovic kept alive the possibility of facing eighth-seeded Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
Murray had little trouble winning his opener, defeating 19-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 6-2 in the first match of the day on center court.
“He outclassed me, he did everything better than me,” said Kyrgios, who upset Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Murray, the 2013 Wimbledon champion who had back surgery last autumn, was pleased with the match.
“I thought I did most things like pretty solid,” the Scot said. “I didn’t make too many errors. I moved well, (had a) high first-serve percentage.”
Murray will face either Ivo Kalovic or Richard Gasquet in the next round.