GAEL MONFILS was the toast of Roland Garros again yesterday as he followed up his upset of Tomas Berdych with a brilliant victory over Ernests Gulbis.
With his rubber-like limbs propelling him to amazing court coverage and the crowd-pleasing skills of a jester, it is easy to see why the Parisians, and many others, love Monfils.
Injuries have not helped the 26-year-old, and his rank of 81 is largely down to knee problems that forced him to miss a large chunk of last season. Yet he is also a mercurial figure as likely to lose a match he should have won as to conjure up some magic.
Magic is certainly what he has been at the French Open this year, though, with his five-set win over Berdych the match of the men's singles so far. Yesterday's clash was not far behind it, although Gulbis lost heart in the fourth set as Monfils clinched a 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory after three hours and 15 minutes.
Caroline Garcia was unable to prevent Serena Williams extending her winning run to 26 matches in their second round clash.
Two years ago, French hope Garcia led Maria Sharapova by a set and 4-1 here before the Russian turned things round.
If yesterday's match against the current world number one is anything to go by, then she has some way to go. Garcia put up a decent fight in the second set but it was still entirely comfortable for Williams, who triumphed 6-1 6-2 in an hour and two minutes and next meets 26th seed Sorana Cirstea.
Caroline Wozniacki snapped her run of five straight defeats on clay by beating Britain's Laura Robson comfortably on Monday, but it proved a temporary renaissance as she lost in the second round to Bojana Jovanovski.
Jovanovski also beat the 10th seed in Rome two weeks ago despite struggling with injury and used her greater power to good effect yesterday, winning 7-6 (7/2) 6-3.