Doha | Mensik continues his dream run

The Czech teenager, Jakub Mensic, continues his remarkable run at the Qatar Open, by reaching the last two of the ATP 250 event in Doha and record the first Tour final of his young career.

I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this Jakub Mensik

He beat the veteran entertainer Gael Monfils, the 37-year-old Frenchman 6-4 1-6 6-3 in what is turning out to be a realisation of his dreams.

The youngster recovered from dropping the second set to become, after one-hour 54-minutes, the youngest finalist in the tournament’s history.

“I am speechless,” the young Czech declared. “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final].

“Incredible week so far. Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this.

“An amazing feeling with my first ATP final.”

Mensik, who is playing in just his third tour-level event, defeated the top seeded Andrey Rublev in straight sets in the quarter finals to earn his first Top 5 win having previously beaten the former world No,1 Andy Murray and will break into the top 100 when the new rankings list is revealed on Monday. Currently he stands at 116.

As in his previous rounds, Mensik struck the ball well throughout against the Frenchman, who tried to use the drop shot to disrupt the youngsters’ rhythm but, in the eighth game of the decider, the Czech struck to gain the decisive break with a backhand winner down the line.


Jakub Mensik (R) exchanges kind words with his beaten opponent

(Photo by Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The teenager, who saved 9 of 12 break points, then held serve for his best result to date, roaring to mark the occasion before embracing his beaten opponent warmly at the net.

“I told him when I was young, I watched him a lot on the TV,” Mensik revealed. “One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

In the final he will meet the second Russian in his dream run, namely the second seeded Karen Khachanov who earlier, had required one-hour and 48 minutes to dispatch Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 7-6(12) 6-2 and reach his eighth Tour final.

It proved a tricky match for Khachanov who rallied from a break down in the first set and saved three set points in the tie-break before converting on his fifth opportunity to move ahead.

He then saved all four break points he faced in the second set to progress past the stubborn Aussie.

“It is really nice to play with a full crowd and energy,” Khachanov said later. “It was a very emotional and tight tie-break. He was up and then I was up. One point made the difference and I think winning the first set was crucial to winning the match.”

Khachanov, the current world No.17, is chasing his sixth tour-level title this weekend, with all five of his previous triumphs coming on hard courts.


Karen Khachanov celebrates reaching his eighth tour final

(Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)



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