10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

French Tennis Star Gael Monfils Beats Swiss Star Stan Wawrinka in Rotterdam ABN AMRO @AHoy

Gael Monfils of France reacts (L) reacts after winning the final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 17 February 2019. EPA-EFE/Robin van Lonkhuijsen
Gael Monfils of France reacts (L) reacts after winning the final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 17 February 2019. EPA-EFE/Robin van Lonkhuijsen

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

ATP Finals have not always been kind to Gael Monfils. But his 29th appearance arguably resulted in his biggest and best win.

 

Previously 7-21 lifetime in title matches, Monfils triumphed at a 500-point event for the second time in his career when he beat Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Sunday. The Frenchman started hot and finished with a flurry to prevail after one hour and 44 minutes.

 

“We have been practicing all winter together, and really for the past 14 years too,” Monfils said of Wawrinka, who had been leading the head-to-head series 3-2. “In these matches, it’s tricky to surprise the other. I was a bit tougher than him in the third set and changed the rhythm, as I felt he was playing heavy in the second set and I felt like I couldn’t handle it. I had to break his momentum. I had to be more aggressive and sneak in some serve and volley tennis.”

 

The 32-year-old broke early and did not face a single break point opener before things got away from him in set two.

 

Gael Monfils of France during the final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 16 February 2019. EPA-EFE/Robin van Lonkhuijsen

Gael Monfils of France during the final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 16 February 2019. EPA-EFE/Robin van Lonkhuijsen

“I was stressed and angry (in the second),” Monfils admitted, “but I had to think about it and in the third game of the decider. I took my chance and gained energy.”

 

Wawrinka, the 2015 Rotterdam champion, is now 16-13 lifetime in ATP Finals.

 

“We know each other really well, as we’ve practiced a lot in the offseason and before (the recent tournament in) Sofia,” the 33-year-old Swiss noted. “It was a tough final and Gael played really well. He did what he had to do at the right moments. I was struggling with my footwork at times to be more aggressive on my groundstrokes. That’s what made the difference.

 

“It’s great to have been back in the final, but also how I played to get there. I played a good match and good level today; it’s great to see the level is there across a full week. I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing over the past few months–working hard off the court, playing matches and building my confidence.”

 

In a competitive doubles final, Henri Kontinen teamed up for a rare partnership with Jeremy Chardy and they knocked off the long-time partnership of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 7-6(4).

 

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

 

Editors Note • Being In Love Can Do Wonders For A Frenchman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *