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Men’s Third Round: Gael Monfils Turns Back Time, Tommy Paul Sails Into Fourth Round
3 Min Read · March 11, 2024

The freewheeling magician Gael Monfils, known simply as “Lamonf” to die-hards at the BNP Paribas Open continues to defy Father Time. 

The 37-year-old edged 2021 champion Cameron Norrie on a packed Stadium 3 on Monday, 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-3, in a tussle that lasted three hours and eight minutes on a balmy afternoon in Southern California. 


“Today was quite hard, I’ve been battling,” Monfils said after the match with a smile. “Cam was playing very good, tactically he was better than me at the beginning, so I had to change, I had to think about it, I had to improve a couple of things in my game to put him in trouble.” 

Monfils has won back-to-back three-setters this week. In the second round he took out No. 8-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2. The consecutive triumphs mark the first time that he has won back-to-back three-setters at the same event since the 2021 Paris Masters. 

He’ll turn 38 at this year’s US Open, but the Frenchman is displaying staying power – and stamina – as the oldest player remaining in either singles draw. 

“I still believe I can play” Monfils told reporters in his post-match press conference. 

Two-time BNP Paribas Open quarterfinalist Monfils improves to 20-13 lifetime at Indian Wells, and advances to the round of 16 for the first time since 2022, the year he upset then World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the third round. 

Monfils remains perfect against Norrie, at 4-0, with his last three victories all coming from a set down. The unseeded Frenchman credits mid-match tactics as the source that sparked today’s comeback. 

“His forehand was quite heavy with the spin in these different conditions. He was killing me at the beginning with that, so I had to adjust my position a little bit,” he said.

Paul Can Ball 

American Tommy Paul, the No. 17 seed, reached the fourth round at Indian Wells for the third time in four years with a 6-4, 6-4 win over France’s Ugo Humbert on Stadium 2. 

26-year-old Paul improved to 2-0 lifetime over one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour – Humbert was playing at a career-high ranking of No. 14 after winning the Dubai title last month, where he became just the third player in ATP history to win each of his first six tour-level finals.

Paul dropped serve in the sixth game of the opening set to fall behind 4-2, but rebounded quickly and took the final four games to lead by a set (6-4). 

In the second set the American was flawless on serve, winning 17 of 18 first-serve points, dropping just five service points overall and never facing a break point. 

“I thought I played really well,” Pauls said. “I went down a break there like in the middle of the first set, and he's a tricky guy to break back. I upped my energy and got kind of lucky to get that break back right away, and then really felt like I started getting on a roll. Kind of catching a read for his serve a little bit. Thought I put a lot more returns in the court. I thought that was a major difference.”

Paul’s victory sets up a potential round of 16 encounter with five-time champion Novak Djokovic.  

“That's why we play tennis, play the biggest players on the biggest stages,” Paul said of the prospect of facing Djokovic for the second time. “We're in the States. Obviously he's got a lot of supporters everywhere he goes, but I like to think that some of the crowd is going to be cheering for me, so I'm really excited for that.”

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