Posted: Wednesday June 12, 2013 11:55 AM

Monfils wins in Halle, says he'll skip Wimbledon

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HALLE, Germany (AP) - Gael Monfils announced that he's skipping Wimbledon again, after reaching the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open on Wednesday

Monfils beat qualifier Jan Hernych 6-2, 6-3, then said he withdrew his request for a wild card at Wimbledon because he had to deal with a personal problem. The Frenchman gave no details.

Mikhail Youzhny also advanced to the last eight by upsetting fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3. German wild card Mischa Zverev advanced by beating Mirza Basic 7-6 (5), 6-3 after coming from behind in both sets.

Monfils was once ranked No. 7 in the world, but the Frenchman missed several months last year because of a knee injury. He was ranked No. 119 in May before jumping up to No. 67.

Monfils, who has never gotten past the third round at Wimbledon, said it was a pity he would have to miss it for the second straight year and fourth time in six years, especially because he felt he was beginning to play better on grass.

For a player who says he has trouble moving on grass, Monfils was at his acrobatic best against Hernych.

At one point, he even jumped over the net. Trying to save a break point, the Czech qualifier dived to his right to reach a ball at the net and managed to send it over. Monfils raced forward, failed to reach it in time and his momentum carried him over the net. The two touched hands and Monfils got back to his side to eventually break serve for a decisive 4-2 lead in the second set.

The Frenchman's enthusiasm did not always result in points - he once jumped high for a smash, only to rip it into the net. But another time, he chased down a lob and hit a perfect backhand winner on the turn.

"I was happy, I was having fun,'' Monfils said. "Grass is not natural for me, but I am getting better. I have to focus on not falling, not injuring myself. I cannot take off as fast as I want to and I have problems braking. But I was comfortable today, I was leading all the time.''

Youzhny was not quite as spectacular as Monfils but his steady game carried him past Nishikori in the first set.

"He started well, he was hitting a lot of first serves and I was missing everything,'' the Japanese said.

Nishikori said it was not easy to adjust to grass and that he would remain in Halle for a while to practice more and play doubles.

Youzhny was twice a semifinalist in Halle, including last year, and lost to Roger Federer both times.

Basic, a Bosnian who upset seventh-seeded Jerzy Janowitz in his first match in the main draw of an ATP Tour event on Tuesday, squandered a 4-1 lead in the first set and a 2-1 break lead in the second. He saved three match points on his serve but Zverev closed it out with a service winner.

Federer played Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in the final match of the day.
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