• US Open

Monfils not mourning the morning anymore

Michael Beattie at Flushing Meadows
August 30, 2014
Gael Monfils was in irrepressible form in defeating Alejandro Gonzalez in the second round at the US Open © Getty Images

Gael Monfils doesn't do mornings. Never has. Wakes up cranky, takes a while to get going. So having the Frenchman face Alejandro Gonzalez in Friday's first match on Grandstand - an 11am start - was always going to make for interesting viewing.

Even if he began the match a little grumpy, La Monf didn't disappoint. After sulking his way through a tight first set, the first signs he was feeling a little devil-may-care came when he asked a ball-boy for a can of Coca-Cola (other non-isotonic fizzy pops are also available) - and promptly broke to open the second set.

Riding his refined sugar high, Monfils produced what may turn out to be the shot of the tournament in the next game - a leaping, swivelling, full-blooded cross-court forehand complete with scissor kick that takes longer to describe than it did to rifle past Gonzalez and into the back-stop at a reported 110mph.

"It's 1pm now, I'm awake," he told his team shortly after.

The second went his way 6-3 and the match was all but over when he sat down at 5-0 in the third. Feeling pretty good about life, Monfils asked for another Coke - and promptly spilt it down his shirt, which may explain the break in concentration that helped a match point slip by before he was broken for just the second time in the match.

Gonzalez had been granted a reprieve, but it was brief. The No.20 seed wrapped things up in the next game, a 7-5 6-3 6-2 winner. After sharing a joke with the Colombian at the net, he turned to his corner and pulled a move inspired by either darts or beer pong. We know where our money is on that oneā€¦

Compatriot Richard Gasquet awaits Monfils in the third round.

Michael Beattie is a tennis writer for ESPN. Follow him on Twitter here.

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