Second seed Gael Monfils cruised past Italy’s Gianluca Mager 6-2, 6-2 on Friday at the Sofia Open to reach his second ATP Tour semi-final in as many weeks.
The Frenchman, who enjoyed a run to the last four in Metz last week, was competing in his maiden match in Sofia this year after receiving a first-round bye and then a walkover from Winston-Salem champion Ilya Ivashka.
“I like to be here,” Monfils said in his on-court interview. “The city is great. The people organising the tournament are always amazing. I have had a very good time with good preparation and that is why I think I played very well today.”[FOLLOW ACTION]
The 35-year-old fired 13 aces and mixed his aggressive baseline tennis with great variety against Mager to advance after 50 minutes. Monfils will next face Marcos Giron after the American defeated eighth seed John Millman 6-4, 6-2 to reach his first tour-level semi-final.
“Nothing is easy,” Monfils added. “We have been putting in work for nearly four days here. Working on my serve and my forehand and it worked perfectly today. I will be ready for Marcos. He has been playing very well, so I think it will be a tough semi-final.”
Monfils has fond memories in Bulgaria, having reached the semi-finals in Sofia in 2019. Earlier this season, the World No. 20 advanced to the last eight in Toronto, before reaching the third round at the US Open.
Mager, currently No. 78 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was aiming to reach his second tour-level semi-final and first since 2020, when he defeated Attila Balazs before losing to Cristian Garin in the championship match in Rio de Janeiro.