Monfils beats Rublev to win title

File Photo : Gael Monfils
IANS|07-Jan-2018 16:40

Doha, Jan 7 : Given a wildcard following his return from a four-month injury-layoff, Frenchman Gael Monfils made full use of the opportunity by annexing the Qatar Open tennis title with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 win over Andrey Rublev of Russia.

Monfils' win on Saturday night was his seventh career title and it was his first title in Doha after losing three previous finals. 

Monfils, ranked 46 in the world, got an early break for 3-1 when Rublev made a string of unforced errors -- especially off his forehand. 

Monfils broke again to wrap up the first set 6-2 to step closer to a first triumph after losing three finals in the past.

In the second set it was déjà vu again. Monfils broke in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead on the back of two consecutive forehand errors from the young Russian. 

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The next game was a big battle as Rublev tried hard to get back on serve coming up with some terrific forehands. 

He led 30-0 and had a couple of break points but Monfils stayed strong coming up with powerful ground strokes of his own and then an ace to complete the hold for 4-1. 

Thereafter the games went with serve and Monfils easily wrapped up the win in just 61 minutes with some strong serves.

Rublev elaborated on the reasons for his loss: "I think I was completely tired today. I mean, you can see that even my shots was not the same energy like previous matches. I was doing a lot of mistakes, a lot of wrong shots." 

"You can see even I was really slow today on the court. Every time he was move me to one side and most of the time it was almost over, or if I could catch one point then he was always killing me with the second. You can see that today I was really had no energy, no power in the legs and the speed of the ball was not even close like it was previous matches," he added. 

"I mean, previous matches was much faster and all this stuff and really tough for me. Yeah, I'm happy to be seeded. And of course I feel a little bit more confident."

On the other hand, Monfils was understandably elated after the win. 

"I'm very happy. I like this tournament so much, you know. I always come back. And I was very close and finally get it. So I'm just very happy and very proud. It's been a year and I was waiting for that moment to get back in shape," he said. 

"It was in 2016, I was almost on my top and I had a very good year, finish sixth, and couldn't really defend my chances in 2017. I had a long rest and come back strong in 2018 was a goal. I wouldn't say I was expecting to win the first tournament, but I'm more than happy that I did."