Monfils against Haas a quarter-final to savour

01:19, Jan 10 2013
Heineken Open 2013
Benjamin Becker from Germany returns a shot in his match with Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
Heineken Open 2013
Lukas Rosol on his way to losing his match with Benjamin Becker in straight sets.
Heineken Open 2013 gallery
A high gust of wind created a little havoc for the first umpire on court this morning.
Heineken Open 2013
Benjamin Becker lines up a serve on his way to winning his match with Lukas Rosol earlier today.
Heineken Open 2013
Igor Sijsling of Netherlands plays a backhand in his first round match against compatriot Matwe Middelkoop.
Heineken Open 2013
Matwe Middelkoop of Netherlands serves in his first round match against Igor Sijsling.
Heineken Open 2013
Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil plays a forehand during his first round match against David Goffin of Belgium.
David Goffin
David Goffin was spirited early in his match against Thomasz Bellucci before falling away to a straight sets loss.
Heineken Open 2013
Xavier Malisse of Belgium returns a shot in his match with Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Heineken Open 2013
Martin Klizan of Slovakia fires a return during his match with Xavier Malisse today.
Xavier Malisse
Xavier Malisse showed great composure to claim an upset win in round one over seventh seed Martin Klizan.
Open 1
Australian Greg Jones receives medical attention during his qualifying match against Victor Hanescu of Romania on day one.
Open 2
Martin Kilzan, Slovakia, plays a backhand during his first round match against Belgian Xavier Malisse on day one.
Open 3
Greg Jones of Australia serves in his qualifying match against Victor Hanescu of Romania on day one.
Open 4
The artwork on the left leg of the Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol as he walks back to his chair during his match against Benjamin Becker of Germany on day one.
Igor Sijsling
Igor Sijsling moves into the second round after beating fellow Dutchman Robin Haase.
Greg Jones
Greg Jones powered past Jurgen Melzer in the first round of the Heineken Open, beating the sixth seed 7-6(7) 6-2.
Dan King-Turner
Dan King-Turner in action during his first round loss.
Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils entertained the fans during his win in three sets over Benjamin Becker.
Heineken Tennis Open
Colombia's Santiago Giraldo during day 3 of the 2013 ATP Heineken Tennis Open.
Heineken Open 2013
Xavier Malisse during day three of the 2013 ATP Heineken Tennis Open.
Heineken Open 2013
Olivier Rochus on day three of the Heineken Open New Zealand.
Heineken Open 2013
Heineken promotion girls at the Heineken Open.
Kohlschreiber
Philipp Kohlschreiber on his way to victory on day three of the Heineken Open.
Heineken Open 2013
Germany's Tommy Hass in training on day three.
Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils plays a shot between his legs during his straight sets win over Australian Greg Jones.
Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas was in blistering form in during his win over Igor Sijsling.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer hits a forehand during his three-set win over Lu Yen-Hsun.
Heineken Open 2013
Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during day four of the Heineken Open New Zealand Quarter finals.
Heineken Open 2013
Belgium's Xavier Malisse in action on centre court in the quarter finals of the Heineken Open.
Heineken Open 2013
A fan watches the Heineken Open.
Querrey
Sam Querrey on day four of the Heineken Open.
Gel Monfils
Gel Monfils beat Tommy Haas to progress to the semifinals.
Heineken Open
Philipp Kohlschreiber from Gemany reacts as he wins the first semi final on day five of the Heineken Open.
Heineken Open 2013
Sam Querrey from the US stretches to return a ball from Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Heineken Open 2013
Philipp Kohlschreiber from Gemany on his way to winning the first semi final.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer celebrates his win against Gael Monfils.
Heineken Open 2013
David Ferrer beat Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 in the second semi fianl of the Heineken Open.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer on his way to winning the Heineken Tennis Open.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer reacts to winning the Heineken Tennis Open for a record equaling forth time.

Tommy Haas against Gael Monfils is a match that would comfortably sit well in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, so to see it in the quarters of a lowly ATP 250 tournament in New Zealand is something really to cherish.

They will play each other today for a place in the semifinals and it could possibly be one of the most entertaining matches at the Heineken Open for the past decade.

Haas, the impressive German who beat Igor Sijsling 6-3 6-4, may be 34 years old but is playing some of the best tennis of his long and illustrious career and will go up against one of the game's real entertainers, Monfils.

The Frenchman still aspires to win grand slams and his time in Auckland is all part of that journey,

Languishing at 99 in rankings, because he had to spend five months off the circuit last year with a knee injury, Monfils certainly looks to be playing closer to his previous high ranking of No 7 than where he currently resides.

Yesterday he beat Australian Greg Jones 6-4 6-2 in six minutes over an hour, but he has high expectations of himself and says he wasn't happy with how he played.

"It was good but not a great game if I want to be better," Monfils said.

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"I was too shy with my shots, I can go for shots more with my forehand, be closer to the baseline, I can reach the net more.

"There are a lot of things to do, I am happy because I ran well and put the ball in, but I am not happy with way I should play."

Once again, Monfils would regularly chat the umpire at the change of ends, but he says it's not because he's complaining about something, rather than that's just the way he is.

"I love to talk with the umpire," he said.

"Most people say I lose my concentration but I want to win and I stay focussed.

"I love to talk and it is part of the show."

Despite being the tournament's second seed, the German Philipp Kohlschreiber is something of the forgotten man at the Open.

With world No 5 David Ferrer looking to win in Auckland for the fourth time and Monfils and Haas all here, Kohlschreiber has slipped under the radar.

But he will benefit from those three players all being in the other half of the draw to him and the American Sam Querrey looks like being his only obstacle on the way to the final.

Yesterday Kohlschreiber did need three sets to beat Alejandro Falla 7-6 4-6 6-3, but said the Colombian is usually a tricky opponent for him.

"It was a close fight and maybe I took more advantage of the few chances I got," Kohlschreiber said.

"It could have gone for him, but maybe I was tougher in the big moments."

As Ferrer is 15 places higher than him in the rankings and won a remarkable seven tournaments last year, Kohlschreiber admits he's the player to beat, but would relish the chance to play him as it would mean he has got to the final.

"David played an unbelievably good season last year, he won here, so he's a big favourite to win the tournament," he said, before Ferrer played Lu Ten-Hsum last night. 

"But we all have a chance to beat him, I would play him in the final and if I get there I'd be very happy to play against him."

Today, Kohlschreiber takes on the veteran Belgian Xavier Malisse. They have met three times in the past with Malisse winning two of those contests, however, both of those victories were in 2005.

"He is a quality player and has lots of talent, said the German.

"Maybe I am the favourite because of the rankings and I hope I have a chance to win the match."

Fairfax Media