Gael Monfils lost for the third time in four US Open quarter-final appearances. — AFP Photo
NEW YORK — Gael Monfils said he wouldn't dwell on his agonizing US Open quarter-final loss to Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday that prolonged France's 36-year wait for a men's Grand Slam singles champion.
The 33-year-old Monfils saved four match points against Italian 24th seed Berrettini before losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) in an entertaining four-hour battle at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Monfils fell short in his bid to reach a second US Open semi-final, having also missed out in 2014 after squandering two match points in the last eight against Roger Federer.
"I had tough ones in my career like that. Actually I have a tough one here in match point with Roger. I know how to bounce back," Monfils said.
"Actually I played very good after that quarter that I lost in 2014 with Roger. I've got to take the positive of this almost two weeks and keep working hard and get back for the Asia swing."
Monfils was the last of 14 French representatives left in the men's draw at Flushing Meadows but was hindered by serving troubles that resulted in 17 double faults -- two of which came in the fifth set tie-break.
"I think the key today was I served very poorly. My serve was very off, a lot of double faults. Not at all first serve. That's I think a key in the match," he said.
"I was battling with that and with my opponent. So it was tough. I just competed as much I could."
Yannick Noah remains the last Frenchman to capture a Grand Slam singles title, at the 1983 French Open. The last Frenchman to triumph in New York was Henri Cochet at the US Championships in 1928 -- 40 years before the Open era.
Monfils savored his time in the US Open spotlight and hopes to stick around a little longer to support girlfriend Elina Svitolina, who plays Serena Williams on Thursday for a place in the women's final.
"I'm not a sore loser. I give it all today. I served bad, but I gave my heart. The crowd was amazing. They pushed me. They helped me. It was fun. It was exactly what I play for," Monfils said.
"I wish I could win, but I love those matches no matter what. I'm proud of myself, and, you know, I will be happy, I will be happy to cheer for my girlfriend tomorrow. Definitely if it can be one more day here, I'm on it." — AFP