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Monfils Upsets Federer In Shanghai Third Round

Shanghai, China

Gael Monfils defeated 2010 runner-up and fifth seed Roger Federer on Thursday in the Shanghai Rolex Masters third round.

Monfils recorded just his second win in eight FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Federer with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory in two hours and nine minutes.

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Federer recovered from a 3-5 deficit in the second set. He went on to win four straight points from 3-5 in the tie-break, including two points on Monfils’ serve. Monfils broke in the fourth game of the decider and could have taken a 5-1 lead, but Federer hung on to hold serve.

"I knew that I choked on this forehand at 5-4 [in the tie-break]," said Monfils. "Then I changed my ideas because I was maybe nervous, too. Even [though] I was tired, I tried to play more aggressively sometimes, going more for my shots and it worked.

"It's a good win for me. I feel a bit sorry for him because I know he's running for London. But it's tennis. He's going to have more opportunity those weeks coming up." 

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Federer, 32, is battling to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the 12th consecutive year. "He's still strong," said Monfils. "It's just a matter of confidence, I think. I have no doubt that he will get back to the way people expect him [to play]."

Monfils goes on to face top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. Djokovic cruised past Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 and leads Monfils 8-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

"[It was] one of those matches that could have gone either way," said Federer. "I think I was a little lucky in the second set to get back, to be quite honest. I played a solid tie-break. 

"I had chances early on in the third set I think to make something happen. He kind of recovered, then started to serve a bit better again towards the end of the third set, which made it difficult for me. It's a bit of an up and down performance for me."

When asked whether Andy Murray’s withdrawal from playing at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals increased his chances of qualifying, Federer said, "I hope I don't have to rely on it. If I have to, I have to. But that's not really what I want. 

"I'm just going to focus on trying to play well. I'm just going to try to have a good tournament in Basel and Paris. In the end, if I get the invite, I'll be there."

Forty five minutes after losing to Monfils, Federer returned to the court. But he ended up losing his second round doubles with Ze Zhang. Fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo scraped through 6-1, 1-6, 10-8 in 53 minutes.

"Roger just finished his singles match," said Zhang. "I should have given him more support. But we lost the first one too quickly. [In] the second set, both of us were a little bit [calmer] than in the first set because it was our last chance. But when it came to the tie-break, a lot of times it's all about luck."

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