Gael Monfils came in as the World No.10 from France. Where the 34 year old will face someone who is young. His name is Emil Ruusuvuori from Finland. This opponent is ranked No.86 at age 21. In a Youth v Experience showdown at Court 13.
Monfils won the first set against Ruusuvuori 6-3. Despite a first point loss against the Finn. Where he wasted no time catching up. And closed in with Ruusuvuori side by side during the opening set 3-3. Before Monfils got it sorted to register this flying start.
But Monfils somehow faded immediately after the initial break. When Ruusuvuori built a great base towards halfway 3-1 ahead of Monfils. Although the Frenchman began to catch up on the areas that fallen apart. But the Finn narrowly shut him down in Stage 2, 6-4.
Nothing much happened during the 3rd set. As Ruusuvuori maintained the same momentum from Stage 2. So the healthy fire off is there. While Monfils unable to rectify his weaknesses that fell behind the Finn. There was some progress began after Ruusuvuori led 3-1. He just fell short once again with another set loss 7-5. With a potential early exit looming at Court 13.
Monfils did his best to have his journey in Melbourne without a fight. He overcame a poor start this time to leapfrog past Ruusuvuori 2-2. And pulled off a great 2nd half middle ground without too much hassle. When Monfils won the 4th set 6-3 as his 2nd mini win. That denied the Finn his straight sets win at the first attempt.
Having seen Monfils & Ruusuvuori won two sets each. That 5th and final stage ended in a standoff. As one of them will be able to advance in the 2nd round. The Finn was able to find the consistency towards the home stretch. Monfils may have denied Ruusuvuori four March points. But the lead margin 6-3 against Monfils is too much work to compensate.
Despite the enormous current ranking Monfils is at right now. It does not mean any guarantees of success. With the Frenchman approaching his twilight years going into age 35. While the World No.86 from Finland punched his ticket for Round 2. As Ruusuvuori has a bright future ahead in the singles. He won three sets to two v Monfils: 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6 & 6-3.