Monfils loses to German qualifier at Qatar Open
Gael Monfils' comeback from injury took a hit Thursday when he lost to German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open.
The Frenchman, who ended his season early in 2012 because of knee problems, beat Philip Kohlschreiber in three sets to reach the quarterfinals. But he came out sluggish against the 153rd-ranked Brands, struggling to return the German's serve and failing to chase down many of his forehands.
Brands will face second-seeded Richard Gasquet, who beat Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-1, 6-3. Top-seeded David Ferrer defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-0.
Ferrer will take on a resurgent Nikolay Davydenko, who routed Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-1, 6-1 in 49 minutes, winning all five break points and nearly 80 percent of the first-service points.
After losing the first set, Monfils took 3-0 and 5-2 leads in the second, but Brands won the final five games.
"He went for his shots more than me,'' Monfils said. "He was playing very fast at the beginning, and it took me a while to adapt and to just to see how he was playing.''
Monfils said he was still not 100 percent, but he insisted his recovery remains on pace with no knee pain this week.
"It was tougher because I felt a bit heavier, and it was my first tough match yesterday,'' Monfils said. "I struggled a bit with my recovery. I have to get used to, and, you know, just adjust a couple of stuff to be better.''
Brands, one of six unseeded players to reach the quarterfinals, aims for his first ATP title.
"If I have confidence and I feel good, then I can play like today,'' Brands said. "I have to try to get into the top 100. That's my goal and let's see what happens.''
The 10th-ranked Gasquet played his best match of the tournament, mixing up a strong service game with good net play. He also took advantage of Lacko's injured left ankle, which limited his mobility and required treatment during the first set.