Monfils, Isner through to third round

Monfils, Isner through to third round

Gael Monfils has banked another straight-sets win at the Australian Open, two days after the enigmatic Frenchman’s path to the quarter-finals opened up.

Monfils sent compatriot Nicolas Mahut packing on Thursday, winning their second-round clash 7-5 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, big-serving American John Isner also advanced to the third round in straight sets when he crushed Marcel Granollers 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-2).

Isner, seeded 10th, next faces either Guido Pella or Feliciano Lopez.

“I’ll be ready .. it will be very tough,” Isner predicted.

Monfils would have sensed it was his day after taking the first set in fortuitous fashion, when a scrambling return suddenly became unplayable after clipping the top of the net.

The 23rd seed broke Mahut’s serve four times in the day’s opening match on Margaret Court Arena, bossing the veteran around the court.

The final set lasted just 23 minutes, with Mahut’s 34th birthday proving an unhappy one.

“I gave him a hug … at the end he was a bit loose,” Monfils said courtside.

Monfils’ next opponent will be either qualifier Stephane Robert, another Frenchman, or American Rajeev Ram.

The 29-year-old would then have expected to meet Rafael Nadal in the fourth round – if the Spanish fifth seed didn’t suffer a shock opening-round loss to Fernando Verdasco.

Instead it will be Verdasco, Dudi Sela, Andrey Kuznetsov or Jeremy Chardy – all of whom are ranked outside the top 40 except for 30th seed Chardy.

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