By Julien Pretot
Former world number one Roger Federer was beaten 6-4 7-6 by local favourite Gael Monfils in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on a bad day for the Swiss which also saw Stanislas Wawrinka exit on Thursday.
Defending champion Wawrinka put up only token resistance as his game fell apart in a 55-minute 6-1 6-2 rout at the hands of Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Centre Court.
Dimitrov will face Monfils in the quarter-finals after the French showman, decked out in green and black stripes, saw off second seed Federer in a high-quality contest.
Federer, beaten by Wawrinka in last year’s final, moved 3-1 ahead courtesy of an early break but Monfils hit straight back and then outplayed the Swiss from the baseline to break again at 4-4 before clinching the opener.
The second set went with serve and Federer built a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak before losing four points in a row.
“It was not the best end to the match,” Federer told reporters. “I should have done better with the break up in the first. I think I did a good job to hang around the second set. I also had chances of my own.
“I never felt like things were really happening the way I wanted them to be going during the whole match.”
Federer said he would now return to Switzerland to prepare for more clay court action in Istanbul and Madrid.
Wawrinka also looked like he needs some practise.
The third seed hit 41 unforced errors as he went down in less than an hour.
Later on Thursday eight-time Monte Carlo champion Rafa Nadal takes on American John Isner and world number one Novak Djokovic is up against unseeded Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer.