The highly anticipated men’s singles quarterfinal between No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 20 Gael Monfils is sure to produce plenty of flashy hitting worthy of the nightly highlight reel. Federer leads their head-to-head 7-2, but the pair has split their last four matches. They have both been in red-hot form this fortnight and have yet to drop a set on their way to the quarterfinals.
The biggest key to the match for both players will be their return of serve. Federer and Monfils have put on a serving clinic so far this tournament; both players have served 59 games in total, with Federer holding serve 53 times and Monfils holding serve 54 times. Monfils has also been making the most of his return games this tournament by converting on half of his break-point opportunities.
Federer will need to continue his attacking style of play that coach Stefan Edberg has helped bring out. The five-time US Open champion made 52 net approaches in three sets during his third-round victory on Tuesday night and will want to avoid getting into long rallies with the Frenchman.
Meanwhile, Monfils will need to keep up his new-found focus on court. At his worst, he can resemble a human emoji, and that can sap his energy in the later stages of a match. If he can remain positive and calm mentally, that will translate into greater stretches of the brilliant shot-making he’s known for. Anything less than that will result in a victory for Federer.