DUBAI (AFP) - Gael Monfils held off Britain's hard-charging Dan Evans to battle into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a gutsy 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory on Wednesday (March 1).
The Frenchman, one of the most colourful showmen in the sport, is playing in the Emirate for only the second time in his career after a first-round loss in 2008.
The world number 12 moves into a clash with Spain's Fernando Verdasco, who needed almost two and a half hours to overcome Spanish sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
"Verdasco is a very tough player with a huge forehand," Monfils said. "I'll have to run a lot."
The fourth seed was motoring against the 43rd-ranked Evans, a finalist at the start of the season in Sydney, up a set and a break. But the Briton lifted his game and rose to the occasion as he began a fightback to take the match level at a set each.
Monfils stepped up a gear in the decisive third set.
"It was a great match," said the winner. "In the second set he started really going for his shots.
"I had to try and control him, I finally found a way to win."
Philipp Kohlschreiber reached the last eight as he beat Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 and will play either seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer or Evgeny Donskoy.
French seventh seed Lucas Pouille joined Monfils in the quarters, defeating Marius Copil 6-1, 6-4.