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French Tennis Sensation Gael Monfils Stops Rublev In Doha 2018 Final

Gael Monfils of France celebrates winning the final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev at the ATP Qatar Open Tennis tournament at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, 06 January 2018. EPA-EFE/NOUSHAD THEKKAYIL

 

 

Gael Monfils delivered comeback joy to the desert.

 

Monfils slashed nine aces and did not drop serve dismissing Andrey Rublev, 6-2, 6-3, in 61 minutes to capture the Doha title in his fourth Qatar Exxon Mobil Open final.

 

It is Monfils’ seventh career championship and comes in the first tournament of his comeback.

 

Monfils suffered a season-ending knee injury at the 2017 US Open closing the curtain on an injury-plagued season that saw him miss six Masters events due to injury and advance to his first career grass-court final in Eastbourne.

 

Playing clean tennis in today’s final, the 31-year-old Frenchman stretched the court shrewdly and drilled 29 winners against just 10 unforced errors.

 

It was Monfils’ first ATP title since he won the 2016 Washington, DC championship.

 

“I’m very happy,” said Monfils, who has won six of his seven titles on hard courts. “I like this tournament so much. I always come back and I finally got it. So I’m just very happy and very proud.

 

“It’s been a while. I was waiting for that moment to get back in shape. In 2016, I was almost on my top and I had a very good year, finishing at No. 6. I couldn’t really defend my chances in 2017. I had a long rest and came back strong in 2018, which was a goal. I wouldn’t say I was expecting to win the first tournament, but I’m more than happy that I did.”

 

A three-time Doha runner-up, Monfils fell to Roger Federer in the 2006 final, bowed to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2012 title match and lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2014 championship match.

 

The world No. 46 set the tone for a dynamic serving day opening the final with an ace.

 

The 20-year-old Rublev, who was coming off a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2) semifinal victory over Guido Pella, was not as sharp as Monfils in longer baseline exchanges.

 

Russia’s Andrey Rublev (L) poses with the runners-up trophy after losing the final against Gael Monfils of France at the ATP Qatar Open Tennis tournament at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, 06 January 2018. EPA-EFE/NOUSHAD THEKKAYIL

“I think he’s young, he’s coming, he’s gonna be very strong,” Monfils said of Rublev. “He had a very strong year last year. You can see already that he can beat the top players. For sure he’s gonna be definitely in other finals.”

 

Monfils broke for 3-1 then prevailed in a lengthy rally seizing the 40-minute opening set.

 

Starting the second set with a service break, Monfils served 65 percent and permitted just eight points on his first serve.

 

Monfils cranked a service winner closing a tidy one-hour title trip.

 

The 2016 Australian Open quarterfinalist could be a dangerous floater for Melbourne, which begins on January 15th, and realizes he could draw a high seed early.

 

“I think I can expect a tough first round, but I think I will be well prepared to have a great tournament there,” Monfils said of the Australian Open.

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