French Open: Roger Federer sets up Djokovic showdown

French Open

Venue:
Roland Garros, Paris
Date:
22 May - 5 June
Coverage:
Watch live on BBC Red Button/online (UK only) & text commentary (#bbctennis) on BBC Sport website from 1000 BST; daily highlights programme on BBC Two; updates & commentary on BBC Radio 5 live/5 live sports extra

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Roger Federer crushes Gael Monfils in three sets

Roger Federer defeated home favourite Gael Monfils in straight sets to tee up a mouth-watering semi-final against Novak Djokovic at the French Open.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion came back from 3-1 down to take the first set and breezed through the second.

Monfils, the ninth seed, improved to force a tie-break in the third, but Federer showed his pedigree to complete a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win.

The Swiss world number three is yet to drop a set at this year's event.

But he will face the sternest of tests against Djokovic, who has won his last 43 matches, including 41 in 2011.

"Playing a semi-final here at Roland Garros is something great, and to play it against a great player ... that's why we train so hard," said Federer.

"I'm in really great shape and I'm looking forward to playing this big match."

Strong winds inside the Court Philippe Chartrier made conditions difficult, but Monfils made the brighter start to take a 3-1 lead.

Federer, the world number three, took a bit longer to find his rhythm but after levelling at 3-3 he raised his game to take the set 6-4.

He then went 3-0 up in the second set only for Monfils to battle back to 3-2.

But the Frenchman crumbled in the next game when he dumped a simple smash into the net and served a double fault to hand Federer what proved to be the decisive break.

A swift conclusion looked inevitable when Federer broke in the opening game of the third but Monfils showed great spirit to break back and keep parity with the Swiss deep into the set.

Monfils' service games became epic affairs as he dug deep to save a string of break points and take the set to a tie-break.

The Swiss sealed a mini-break at the first attempt and never looked back as he reached his sixth French Open semi-final.

After the match both players said they had found it difficult to adjust to the blustery conditions.

"I had many problems at the beginning due to the wind on my service games," said Federer. "I'm really happy because I managed to find my game.

"It was not just playing against Gael, it was playing against the conditions. So I'm relieved and satisfied with my performance today."

Monfils said: "My big weakness today was that I wasn't able to serve at all.

"If I'd had more of a serve, I would not have been handicapped. The wind made things really difficult."

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