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Monfils vs Medvedev ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Monfils battles impressive young gun, Medvedev in Sofia semis

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 9 Feb 2019
  • Gael Monfils vs Daniil Medvedev is live from Sofia on Saturday, 9 February from 6:00pm local time/ 4:00pm GMT
  • First career meeting between Monfils and Medvedev
Gael Monfils. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Gael Monfils takes on Russian young gun, Daniil Medvedev for the first time on Saturday, with the winner progressing to the Sofia Open final.

Monfils is seeking his first final of the season, while Medvedev is looking to reach his second final having already contested, and lost the title match in Brisbane this year. Can the Russian hit his way past the flambouyant Monfils, who has looked in very good touch this week?

Monfils is coming off a terrific victory over Greek sensation, Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter finals- the Frenchman winning 6-3 7-6 in an hour and a half. The former world No. 6 won a staggering 93% of points on his first serve, 28 of 30 points, and wasn't too shabby on his second offerings, winning 17 of 29 points. Unsurprisingly, with those serving numbers, he did not face a break point during the match. Tsitsipas, on the other hand, offered eight break points, and dropped his serve twice, both in the first set. 

Monfils broke to open and close the first set, and then won three straight points from 4-5 in the second set tie break to take out the Australian Open semi-finalist, earning revenge for the defeat he suffered against the Greek in Shanghai last season in their only previous meeting.

It was performances like this that took Monfils to No. 6 in the world during his career best 2016, but unfortunately, they have been few and far between since then, with injuries playing a major role in hindering the Frenchman. Monfils has not been inside the top 20 since July 2017, with his highest ranking in the last year and a half being 29th, his year-end ranking in 2018. He made two finals last year, winning in Doha and losing to Kyle Edmund in Antwerp, while he reached semi-finals in Buenos Aires and Antalya, quarter finals in Rio, Quito and Vienna, and the fourth round at Wimbledon in his other noteworthy results of the season. He ended his year pre-maturely in Vienna, where he retired hurt from his quarter final meeting with Fernando Verdasco.

After pulling out of Auckland with a thigh injury, the Frenchman began his 2019 season at the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round to Taylor Fritz, but he's been in fine form in Sofia, beating Viktor Troicki, Mikhail Kukushkin and Tsitsipas to reach the semi-finals. Monfils is seeking his 29th career final (he is 7-21 from the previous 28!)

If he is going to have a shot at an eighth career title on Sunday, he's got to get past an in-form Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.

Daniil Medvedev. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Apart from a late wobble in his opening set of the tournament against Robin Haase, Medvedev has had another outstanding week, bludgeoning his way into his second semi-final of the season.

Despite serving for the first set against Haase, he lost the set, but the response was emphatic, as he powered through the rest of the match, emerging with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 victory. There were no wobbles against Martin Klizan in the second round, as he put on a serving clinic to blast past the dangerous Slovak 6-4 6-1. Medvedev dropped just six points on serve all match, winning 85% of points on his first serve and 83% on his second. The Russian sent down nine aces and did not face a single break point in the 70-minute dispatch.

The 22-year-old is now one win away from his sixth career final, three of which came last year when he won titles in Sydney, Winston-Salem and Tokyo, and broke into the top 20. He reached his fourth career final in Brisbane in the opening week of the 2019 season, beating former top-ten stars, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before falling to Kei Nishikori in the title match. That was followed by a fourth-round run at the Australian Open- his best Grand Slam performance. Can he take another step in his rapid upward trajectory by beating Monfils in their first ever meeting in Sofia on Saturday?

"It's going to be a tough one as well. Daniil is coming on strong, won a lot of matches this year already," Monfils said. "It's going to be another battle. I think [I need to use] another gameplan because he's a different player. The ball stays very low, he serves big. I will have to adapt myself again, I guess be aggressive as well and also try to serve as big as I can."

It's a really intriguing match-up, especially with both men playing very well heading into the contest. Medvedev has built up a very good habit of winning this season, and probably goes in as a slight favourite, but Monfils has been in the mood this week, and when he is in the mood, he is one of the best players in the world. If the Frenchman can match Medvedev on serve, basically, serve like he did against Tsitsipas, and stay with the Russian, his better all-round game could be the edge that separates both men in what should be a keenly fought contest.

Gael Monfils vs Daniil Medvedev is live from Sofia on Saturday, 9 February from 6:00pm local time/ 4:00pm GMT

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Monfils vs Medvedev ATP Sofia Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Monfils battles impressive young gun, Medvedev in Sofia semis

Gael Monfils takes on Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals of the Sofia Open on Saturday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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