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Frenchmen Monfils & Simon Win ATP Titles And Nick Kyrgios Claims Brisbane Crown

Allez! @gilles.simon lifts his 13th ATP title with his his first title of the season at @maharashtraopen – Photo by @atpworldtour via Instagram.



Frenchmen Monfils and Simon win season-opening titles, Kyrgios claims Brisbane crown


By Ricky Dimon


Two Frenchmen got off to big-time start in 2018, as Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon captured season-opening titles on Saturday. Both unseeded at their respective tournaments, Monfils triumphed at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha while Simon made a brilliant run to the winner’s trophy at the Tata Open in Pune. Monfils, who got a semifinal walkover from an under-the-weather Dominic Thiem, rolled over Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3. Simon toppled Pune No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson 7-6(4), 6-2.


Despite having been 6-20 lifetime in ATP finals and having not played a tournament since the 2017 U.S. Open due to injury, Monfils was an obvious favorite heading into the title match against Rublev. After all, the 20-year-old Russian needed two hours and 25 minutes to get past Guido Pella on Friday while fighting off one match point on the way to a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2) success. Rublev did not have much left in the tank for Monfils, who cruised in exactly one hour.


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

“I’m very happy,” Monfils assured. “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.”


Simon made it an all-French sweep on Saturday evening when he upset Anderson in one hour and 36 minutes. Like Monfils, the 33-year-old endured a woeful 2017 season–although he could make no injury excuse for his poor form. From basically out of nowhere, Simon dominated in Pune just about from start to finish while donating only one set throughout the entire week (to Marin Cilic, whom he ended up beating 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semis).


“It was a great match; I think a great performance,” Simon said. “I never beat Kevin before so to be able to beat him in the final is a great achievement for me. It’s so hard to feel comfortable against him because he has a huge serve and is really controlling the game, but I managed to stay calm on my side and to just play my game.”


At the Brisbane International on Sunday, Nick Kyrgios secured the fourth ATP title of his career and first since 2016 he beat Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2. Kyrgios sledgehammered 17 aces compared to just one double-fault and fought off all five of the break points he faced.


“I felt good all week,” the world No. 21 from right there in Australia commented. “I felt right at home. Every time I stepped out here, you (the fans) gave me such great support. I love playing in front of you guys even though sometimes it may not seem that way. But I do. I really appreciate it.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia poses with his winner’s trophy after defeating Ryan Harrison of USA in the Men’s final at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane, Australia, 07 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

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