Monfils targets top 10 return after injury battle


France’s Gael Monfils said he was targeting a return to the top 10 Wednesday as he continued his strong return from injury with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 over Kevin Anderson in the Thailand Open’s first round.
Monfils, who had been out since May with right knee trouble but reached the semi-finals in his comeback event last week in Metz, said his injury woes had given him a “new mindset” now he is back in action.
“It’s really tough to focus again, that is the biggest thing,” said the unseeded Monfils, now ranked 45. “It was four tough months for me, I didn’t know when I would be back on the court. That is tough on the mind. “I’ve been in the top 10 and I’m motivated to be there again, it’s a new start for me. I have new goals, a new mindset and mentality.”
Monfils dealt with momentum shifts in his contest with Anderson, who had to play qualifying rounds despite his 35th ranking after forgetting to formally enter the indoor event on time.
The Frenchman claimed the opening set but could not close out the quick win, with Anderson levelling the match at a set each. In the third, they swapped breaks before Monfils broke again in the penultimate game with a sizzling pass.
He closed out victory on his first match point a game later in just under two-and-a-half hours, through four breaks of the South African’s serve.
“It was a long time that I didn’t play. I need a lot more tennis. I played OK, but just enough to win today,” said Monfils, who has 18 victories this season against eight defeats.
Towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic reached the second round as he beat Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4, while Japan’s Go Soeda disappointed home fans with his defeat of Thai Danai Udomchoke 6-4, 7-5.
The home favourite is the only player to have competed in each of the 10 editions of the ATP event.