Gilles Simon advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals Monday when fellow Frenchman and longtime friend Gael Monfils retired after three sets.
Sixth-seeded Simon was leading 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 when No. 12 Monfils
withdrew with what appeared to be an injured right hand or arm.
Monfils, a semifinalist at the French Open last year, had
treatment in the previous set and, after going to the baseline
after the change of ends, walked to the net and told Simon he could
The pair hugged at the net and kissed each other's cheek.
Despite being close in age - Simon is 24, Monfils is 22 - it was
their first match at tour level.
"It's very hard, because we're very close," Simon said in an
on-court interview. "I didn't want to win like this. Sorry
everybody, that's not the way you want to win."
Simon, into the second week of a major for the first time, next
plays top-ranked Rafael Nadal or 2007 Australian Open runner-up
"The last time against Rafa it was good for me," he said of
his October win over Nadal in the Madrid semifinals. But, "he beat
me here in three sets last year.
"If it's him, it's going to be hard. If it's Fernando, it's
going to be the same."
In the opening women's match, Carla Suarez Navarro reached the
quarterfinals after a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 21 Anabel Medina
Garrigues in an all-Spanish match.
Suarez Navarro, who had an upset win over seven-time Grand Slam
winner Venus Williams in the second round, will play the winner of
the later match between Olympic champion Elena Dementieva and
Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova.
It matched her performance in a major at the French Open last
year, where she got a wild-card entry and made the quarterfinals.
Second-seeded Serena Williams, seeking a 10th Grand Slam singles
title, was to play No. 13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at Rod Laver
Roger Federer, trying to equal Pete Sampras' record 14 Grand
Slam singles titles, had a narrow fourth-round win over Tomas
Berdych on Sunday.
On the court where women's No. 1 Jelena Jankovic was knocked out
in the day's opening match and No. 3 Dinara Safina had to save
match points before advancing, Federer also appeared in trouble.
Not in his mind.
"I wasn't thinking of losing, that's for sure," Federer said
after reaching the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
win. "The finish line was still very far for Tomas. I knew that.
"He pushed me to the limit. You've got to hang in there,
there's no other solution."
He next faces 20-year-old Juan Martin del Potro, seeded eighth
from Argentina, who advanced 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 over No. 19 Marin
Cilic of Croatia.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia jumped to a 5-0
lead, then was pushed the rest of the way in a 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-7
(5), 6-2 victory over 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in
a match that finished at 2:26 a.m. Monday.
He'll next play American Andy Roddick, who ousted No. 21 Tommy
Robredo 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
The top eight seeds in the men's draw made it to the fourth
round here for the first time since 1970.
As well as No. 1 Nadal, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 5 Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga were in action later Monday.
If the top eight reach the quarters, it will be a first in a
Grand Slam in the Open era.
The women's draw is quickly diminishing, with 2004 U.S. Open
winner Svetlana Kuznetsova the only other major winner besides
Williams remaining in the draw.
While Jankovic was disappointing in a 6-1, 6-4 loss to 2007
Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli on Sunday, Jelena Dokic made a
surprising run to the quarterfinals.
Dokic, who won a wild-card tournament to get into her first main
draw at a Grand Slam event in three years and was ranked No. 187
last week, had a 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 fourth-round win over Russia's Alisa
"To be in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam is just amazing,"
said Dokic, a former world No. 4 and 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist.
She next plays Safina, who faced match points with No. 15 Alize
Cornet serving at 5-3 in the deciding set but rallied to win 6-2,