Doha | Monfils finally wins the Qatar Open
Gael Monfils, as a wildcard entry, won the Qatar Open in what was his seventh title in 26 finals he has reached on the ATP Tour, including three in Doha (2006, 2012, and 2014).
He was playing his first tournament since missing the last two months of last season with a knee injury and it was his first overall victory since Washington 2016.
I'm very happy, I like this tournament so much. I always come back and I finally got it. So I'm just very happy and very proud. Gael Monfils
The Frenchman, well known for his entertaining tennis, concentrated to outplay the fast-rising young Russian star Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-3, by absorbing his opponent’s power and giving him little opportunities to use his blistering groundstrokes by offering little pace.
He was also the fresher of the two having been given a semi-final walkover by the title favourite, Dominic Thiem, the top seed, who went down with a fever shortly before their match. In contrast, Rublev was kept on court for nearly two-and=a-half hours in the semi.
But despite that, Rublev could not change his tactics and continued to hammer away at Monfils who made full use of his wider experience in dealing with more winners and fewer errors, outplaying him for most of the final.
The Frenchman, playing well behind the base line defended well frustrating his young Russian into mistakes taking the first set in 22-minutes.
Andrey finally earned 2 break points in the second set but Monfils fended them off and never gave him another chance winning just 2 points of Monfils’ last two service games.
“I’m very happy,” the 31-year-old Monfils said on court. “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 six. I couldn’t really defend my chances in 2017. I had a long rest and came back strong in 2018.”