Gael Monfils served 13 aces and was broken just once Thursday in downing Blue Valley North grad Jack Sock 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-2 in the second round at the Australian Open.
The match was moved indoors under the roof of Hisense Arena after temperatures hit 109 and the excessive heat policy went into effect, suspending play on outdoor courts. Going indoors was the only thing the Frenchman found disheartening.
“I love the heat, so it was a bit disappointing,” said Monfils, the No. 25 seed who will meet No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal in the third round.
“But it was good the roof was closed because it helped my serve.”
The 21-year-old Sock, who was sweating heavily and would have preferred being outdoors in the wind, played Monfils on even terms for nearly two sets. Sock registered his only service break with Monfils serving for the second set, only to see Monfils break right back for a 6-5 lead.
Monfils rode that momentum to a service break in the opening game of the third set and another to take a 5-2 lead.
Sock double-faulted on nine occasions and failed to make an impact when returning second serves. Monfils won 66 per cent of the points on his second delivery.
“I feel good,” said Monfils, who mixed in some serve-and-volley in hitting 39 winners for the match. “It was a bit easier because the roof was closed, and I think I played quite well. But I’m not so satisfied. There were a few mistakes, but it was not bad.”
Sock was one of just three Americans remaining in the men’s draw entering Thursday’s play. Another American, Donald Young, pulled out a five-set win over No. 24 seed Andreas Seppi to move into the third round.