The third seed and defending champion had to work hard to beat Briton Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes at the Rotterdam Ahoy. Monfils, who won his third Open Sud de France trophy last week, will next play seventh-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev, who has a 13-1 record in 2020, or Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.
Evans gained the first break with a forehand drive volley winner for a 5-4 lead, but then struggled to make a first serve. Monfils immediately bounced back and led 4/1 in the tie-break, before Evans won four straight points. The match swung in Monfils’ favour at 5/5, when a net-rushing Evans left a backhand return that dropped in.
Monfils, No. 9 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, who came within one point of a 5-0 lead in the second set, closed out play with his eighth ace. It was his 11th victory in 13 matches this year.