2021 Viking International Eastbourne

Monfils suffers knockout blow by gutsy Aussie

Purcell registers biggest career success with just his third ATP Tour win

Gaël Monfils, the top seed, was floored 6-4 5-7 6-4 by little-known Australian Max Purcell in 130 minutes to be blown out of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament that he won four years ago.

The French veteran, who thundered 16 aces past Purcell, was aiming to reach his first ATP Tour quarter-final since February 2020 when he bowed out to world no.1 Novak Djokovic in Dubai.

But the Sydney 23-year-old had other ideas. The world no.283 got off to a flier to grab the opening set and in a hard-fought second set came within two points of securing victory.

Monfils unleashed a crosscourt forehand winner after trailing 5-4, which ignited the former world no.6 with some long overdue confidence to bring back his usual spark on Centre Court.

The 34-year-old bounced back from the 3-5 deficit by reeling off seven successive games, but then his age showed as he simply ran out of steam. Purcell turned the tables to control the contest and collect five games on the bounce.

Max Purcell

Then each player ponderously held serve, for the Australian to claim just his third ever ATP Tour main draw triumph.

Purcell, who upset South Africa’s 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson in the 1st Qualifying Round at Devonshire Park, is due to face another big challenge in his maiden ATP Tour quarter-final when he plays Eastbourne’s 2011 champion Italian Andreas Seppi.

Purcell admitted after the shock success: “I’ve struggled to get into any singles events over the past nine months so primarily played Doubles.

“To get on a run here, on my favourite surface, is great. I thought I’d come out and have a go, but the result feels unbelievable.”

Max Purcell

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