The Frenchman is riding a career-best 12-match winning streak ahead of their Dubai clash.
Gael Monfils knows he’s going to have to climb a big mountain on Friday if he wants to keep his current winning streak alive. The Frenchman earned his 12th consecutive victory on Thursday to reach the semi-finals in Dubai, but his next opponent has done even better of late, winning 16 consecutive matches since the start of 2020. And, to make matters worse, Novak Djokovic has also won 16 straight against Monfils.
Which begs the question: Does anyone beat Gael Monfils 17 times in a row?
After his straight sets victory over Richard Gasquet (Monfils has also won 24 consecutive sets) on Friday, the 33-year-old said he’d have to develop a new plan to try and sneak a victory over the World No.1.
“I’m not counting,” Monfils when said about his own career-best winning streak. “I try to be good every day. Just making sure that I’m fighting and trying to be very solid.”
When asked about facing Djokovic for the seventeenth time, Monfils seemed unafraid of what might happen on Friday in Dubai.
"I try to be good every day." @Gael_Monfils on 🔥 in February:
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 27, 2020
“I’m 16 down against Novak,” he said. “He’s World No.1. Think hasn’t lost a match this year, so he’s in great shape. I’ll just come up with a new gameplan and see how it goes tomorrow night.”
And what about that plan, what might it be?
“I have no idea right now, because the 16th time it was the wrong one so hopefully the 17th will be the good one.”
It better be. Monfils owns a 1-7 lifetime record against World No.1 players. He defeated then No.1 Rafael Nadal in the Doha quarter-finals 6-4 6-4 in 2009.
It’s not like Monfils has never made any inroads against Djokovic. They have played six deciders and two third-set breakers.
Perhaps he’ll take it to the next level on Friday, but it sure doesn’t seem likely.