- US Open
Monfils not mourning the morning anymore
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 one…
Compatriot Richard Gasquet awaits Monfils in the third round.
Michael Beattie is a tennis writer for ESPN. Follow him on Twitter here.