Svitolina reaches semis with boyfriend Monfils in attendance
NEW YORK (AP) — Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the U.S. Open semifinals, and then it was Gaël Monfils’ turn.
The No. 5-seeded Svitolina reached her second consecutive major semifinal Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Johanna Konta.
Monfils, her boyfriend who is the No. 13 seed on the men’s side, sat in the stands, clad in a bright yellow shirt and gym shorts.
The 33-year-old Frenchman also is alive in the tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Pablo Andujar on Monday.
Monfils was stoic throughout Svitolina’s match — quite opposite his flamboyant, high-energy style of play. Svitolina won several points that yielded an ovation from her team and the crowd alike.
Monfils would merely clap quietly, calmly awaiting the next point.
“He’s very different after (he plays) matches,” Svitolina said on ESPN’s broadcast. “I was surprised, too.”
The couple is the first to simultaneously reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in at least a decade. The closest were Stan Wawrinka and Donna Vekic, who both qualified for the tournament in 2018. Wawrinka lasted until the third round while Vekic was knocked out in the first.
“We (are having) a great run so far,” Monfils said on an earlier broadcast.
Wawrinka and Vekic ended their relationship earlier this year. Wawrinka lost in the quarterfinals Tuesday to Daniil Medvedev, while Vekic plays in the women’s quarters Wednesday.
Svitolina awaits the winner between six-time champion Serena Williams and first-time quarterfinalist Wang Qiang Wang on Thursday.
Monfils will play on Wednesday, when he takes on No. 24 Matteo Berrettini. Monfils looks to return to the semifinals at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which he made in 2016. He lost to Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
“Definitely we are pushing each other, I think, because we are trying to join each other in the (next round). Now he needs to step his game up,” Svitolina said with a laugh after her match.
ANDREESCU WANTS MORE
No. 15 Bianca Andreescu will face off against No. 25 Elise Mertens on Wednesday night in the women’s singles quarterfinals.
It is the furthest Andreescu has gone in a major. It’s also the first time the 19-year-old had qualified for the main draw of the U.S. Open. She is confident heading into the biggest match of her career, according to her coach Sylvain Bruneau. She’s 7-0 against players ranked in the top 10 this season.
“She always looked at (those matches) like an opportunity and she was never on her heels from it,” Bruneau said. “That goes with her DNA as a person and as a player. She’s just wired this way.”
While Mertens is not a top-10 player, Andreescu’s opponent hasn’t lost a set the entire tournament and has given up no more than three games in each of the eight sets she’s played. It is the first time the two have met on the court, something Andreescu’s coach thinks will plays to her advantage.
“We had an edge because we kind of knew all those top players more than they knew her,” said Bruneau on Andreescu’s previous matchups with top 10 opponents.
Andreescu has already won titles at Indian Wells and Toronto this season, and is 42-4 overall.
But she’s got bigger goals than her already solid overall record.
“I’m really happy, but the tournament’s not done yet,” Andreescu said after her fourth-round win over Taylor Townsend. “I think I can do even better than get to the quarters here this year.”
KONTA ON CONFIDENCE
Whether Johanna Konta wins or loses, she doesn’t think it has anything to do with her confidence.
Konta hears talk about that word too often, including from her own coach. Dimitri Zavialoff said in a previous interview that Konta perhaps didn’t believe in herself as much as she should.
Konta disagrees with that notion entirely — both from a practical and philosophical perspective.
“I mean, I don’t really use the word ‘confidence’ or ‘belief’ or things like that,” Konta said after her 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal loss to Elina Svitolina. “I find those words to be quite hollow. Sometimes I think they’re just kind of thrown around. It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, just be more confident or believe in yourself.’
“What does that even mean?”