ATP weekly roundup: Monfils lifts third Montpellier title

This week world number nine Gael Monfils won his first title in almost a year, as he won the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

The Frenchman beat former world number 25 Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 to claim his third trophy at the event, having previously sailed to victory in 2010 and 2014. Reaching the final also marked the 16th consecutive year that the 33 year old has made an ATP final, making his first back in 2005 when he lost to Ivan Ljubicic in Metz.

Seeded number one at the event, Monfils only lost a single set across his four matches en route to the crown. This came in his first match against compatriot Adrian Mannarino when he dropped the first 6-4. Monfils held firm to turn the match around however and kick off his road to glory. Following this he dispatched of world 104 Norbert Gombos in straight sets, before defeating 44th ranked Krajinovic in the semi.

In the final Pospisil clung on at first to save a set point and take the first set to 5-5. Monfils however instantly took the next opportunity to seal it at the death. His opponent started the second set on the front foot and had two break points of his own defended. But despite saving three previous break points in the set, the Canadian was unable to prevent Monfils breaking serve to take a 5-3 lead and subsequently go ont win the match and title.

Speaking to the ATP after winning his ninth tour final, Monfils said: “It has been a great week. I am very pleased about my performance today. I am more than happy to win again in France.” In fact, almost half of his career titles have come in his home country.

The man from Paris will now look to defend his title in Rotterdam, Holland this week, at the ATP 500 event. He is seeded third at the event and will play Portuguese Joao Sousa in the first round. Until this week the Rotterdam trophy was his last on tour.

As well as champion Monfils, Pospisil also had a more than impressive week. Now ranked 132nd, the man from British Columbia has had serious back injuries that forced him to have surgery last year. After breaking into the top 30 as a 23 year old, Pospisil has struggled to regain his old form. However this week has been a potentially seen a new leash of life from the 29 year old, as he defeated young gun Denis Shapovalov, former world number seven Richard Gasquet, and current world number ten David Goffin.

Speaking to the ATP following the final, Pospisil said: “It was an incredible week. I had great wins and I feel like I am definitely improving week-by-week.”

The tour also saw tournaments in India and Argentina this week. World number 107 Jiri Vesely pulled off the biggest shock of the week as he won the Maharashtra Open in Pune. Though the field could have been seen as a weak one with only one player inside the top 70 competing, the title will mean a lot to the Czech who before this week only had one title to his name. The former world number 35 won the trophy in Auckland when he was just 21 years old.

The final of the year’s first clay court tournament will take place tonight in Cordoba. World number 14 Diego Schwartzman faces Chilean world number 31 Cristian Garin.

As well as Rotterdam, next week the tour travels to Buenos Aires and New York. Top 10 players Medvedev,  Tsitsipas, Monfils and Goffin all star in Rotterdam, whilst Cordoba finalists Schwartzman and Garin both feature again in Argentina. Big servers John Isner and Milos Raonic lead the field in New York.

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