Gael Monfils cruises in Indian Wells opener

League: Tennis

Posted on: 08 Mar, 2024 at 07:19 AM

Credit: Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Veteran Frenchman Gael Monfils was in top form Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open, routing Australia's Max Purcell 6-1, 6-2 in first-round action at Indian Wells, Calif.

Monfils, 37, is playing the event for the 15th time, with his best results being quarterfinal appearances in 2016 and 2019.

Monfils racked up a 10-0 advantage in aces and a 13-5 edge in winners, while Purcell had more unforced errors (21-13). Monfils also saved the only break point he faced.

"I thought today I (played) a very good match," Monfils said on court postmatch. "We had a tough first game, but I held it very good. Felt good, moved good, definitely served good. I stuck to my game plan and it worked amazing."

Next up for Monfils is eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. The tournament's 32 seeded players all received first-round byes.

In other Thursday action, the Czech Republic's Tomas Machac beat three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2.

Another Czech player, 18-year-old Jakub Mensik, defeated South Korean qualifier Seong-Chan Hong 6-3, 6-4. Mensik is playing his first event since reaching the final at Doha, Qatar, last month.

The United States' Alex Michelsen topped Spain's Jaume Munar 6-2, 6-3, but two other U.S. players dropped their opening matches to qualifiers. Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild blitzed J.J. Wolf 6-2, 6-1, and France's Constant Lestienne got past U.S. qualifier Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

In an all-U.S. matchup, Patrick Kypson topped qualifier Ethan Quinn 6-1, 7-6 (1).

Other first-round winners included France's Arthur Fils and qualifier Lucas Pouille, Croatia's Borna Coric, Serbia's Dusan Lajovic, Russia's Roman Safiullin, Chinese qualifier Juncheng Shang, Australia's Aleksandar Vukic, Canada's Milos Raonic and Italy's Lorenzo Sonego and Fabio Fognini.

Several other matches, including one that had just begun, were postponed to Friday because of rain.

--Field Level Media