Monfils carries winning momentum into Toronto

Gael Monfils (Getty)
Gael Monfils (Getty)

Toronto - Gael Monfils followed up his first tournament title in more than two years by barrelling into the second round of the Toronto Masters on Tuesday.

The flamboyant Frenchman, seeded 10th and fresh off his triumph in Washington, defeated Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3.

He's hoping this week to improve on his best Canadian result, a quarter-final run in 2011.

Monfils, who defeated big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the final in Washington on Sunday, said conditions were much different in Toronto.

"I think the court is slower here. It's for sure less humidity and a little bit colder," he said. "The balls are flying more. It's quite a big change, actually."

Monfils notched his 30th match win of the season to open his campaign at the tournament that is the last before the Rio Olympics.

The often-injured Monfils said that he had just heard the news that Roger Federer's 2016 season was over, as the Swiss great will miss Rio and the US Open rehabbing a knee injury.

"We all have these (injuries)," Monfils said. "For sure we use our knee very, very, very much. Every surface, every court.

"For me it was tough to balance my power between my hamstring and my quadriceps and even my calf, to have enough support for my knees," Monfils, 29, said.

"It's a daily treatment, sometimes it takes a long time to feel 100 per cent."

In other early results, veteran Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek knocked out French 14th seed Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 to book a date with Canadian wild card Peter Polansky.

Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun beat Alexander Zverev, a Washington semi-finalist, 7-5, 6-3.

The 19-year-old German was making his tournament debut ranked a career-best 25th, He is the youngest in the top 25 since Richard Gasquet 11 years ago.

Lu will next take on Canadian fourth seed and Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, the 2013 finalist who lost his opening match at home a year ago.

Three Americans advanced to the second round with Jared Donaldson defeating Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-3 and Dennis Novikov dispatching Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-3. Rajeev Ram beat fading Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2.

The top eight seeds enjoy first-round byes. World number one Novak Djokovic is due to launch his campaign on Wednesday against Gilles Muller.

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