Monfils routs Rodick to reach semis


World number one Rafael Nadal cruised through to the semi-finals of the Japan Open Friday, joining Frenchman Gael Monfils, who saved a match point before overcoming American Andy Roddick.
The Spanish top seed, who completed a career Gland Slam by winning his first US Open crown last month, made quick work of his Russian opponent Dmitry Tursunov, reeling off the last six games in a row for a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who shocked Nadal in the Thailand Open semi-finals last weekend, failed to set up a re-match, losing to Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
In a hard-fought contest, French fifth seed Monfils trailed Roddick 5-6 in the final set tie-break before firing successive aces on his way to a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6) victory.
The Frenchman took first blood in the contest, unleashing a backhand passing shot down the line when 5-5 in the first set tie-break and sealing the set when Roddick’s backhand volley found the net.
The American drew level in the second set, converting the only break of serve in the match.
But Monfils was quickly back into his stride, earning a first break chance at 15-40 in the second game of the final set and another triple break chance in the 10th game at 5-4 and love-40 — three match points, which Roddick saved.
After coming back from a mini-break down in the tie-breaker, Monfils made his fourth matchpoint count to send the 10th-ranked Roddick crashing out after a battle lasting nearly three hours.
Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, was satisfied with his performance, saying: “It was one of the best matches I played since the spring. I feel a lot more confident leaving this week than coming in.”
In the semi-finals, Monfils will take on Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who qualified for the last four when Jarkko Nieminen of Finland pulled out with a fever.