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Fourth time lucky for Monfils in Qatar

Gael Monfils

Bengaluru/Doha, January 6: Frenchman Gael Monfils thrashed Russian youngster Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 to win the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and claim his seventh ATP title Saturday (January 6) at the hard courts of Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

Having finished runner-up in Doha three times, Monfils finally broke through for his first tournament title. Runner-up in 2006 (l. t Federer), 2012 (l. to Tsonga) and 2014 (l. to Nadal), it was fourth time lucky for the Frenchman. He fired a total of 29 winners while striking only 10 unforced errors.

One year after making his debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, Monfils saw his year-end position in the ATP Rankings slip to No. 46 as he struggled with his fitness in 2017.

The 31-year-old was forced to withdraw from six tournaments with various ailments and concluded his season after the US Open, citing a right knee injury.

But Monfils has rediscovered his top form in the opening week of 2018. The Mikael Tillstrom pupil fought for a pair of three-set victories to open the tournament, defeating Paolo Lorenzi and Jan-Lennard Struff, before ousting Peter Gojowczyk in the quarter-finals.

A semifinal walkover over top seed Dominic Thiem provided ample rest for the Frenchman, who was at his ruthless best in the championship.

Thiem withdraws

Monfils now turns his attention to the Australian Open, which begins on January 15 at the Melbourne Park, where he will be looking to get past the fourth round for the first time.

(With inputs from ATP/Agencies).

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    Story first published: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 23:01 [IST]
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