Breaking News:

Keep up with So Much Sports on Twitter @SoMuchSports

Monfils wins Citi Open, ends title drought

By: Anirudh Sridhar

Gael MonfilsIn an entertaining final, Frenchman Gael Monfils defeated Croatian Ivo Karlovic 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 for his first Citi Open championship. He had previously made it to the semifinals in 2011 and the finals in 2007 coming up short on both occasions.

The two-seed, and ranked No. 17 in the world, Monfils ends his title drought with this championship, his first one in two-and-a-half years.

Karlovic started the game with the similar strategy he had against Steve Johnson by attacking the net. Two strong returns by Karlovic got him a break point chance early on, but Monfils countered it with two strong serves, one of them an ace to win the first game of the match.

Tied up at 2-2, the match had three-straight games without a rally as strong first serves completely dominated the play early on including second serve aces. Monfils started to move side to side on the baseline awaiting the serve to possibly throw off Karlovic but Ivo continued to serve aces.

The 37-year-old Karlovic was looking to win his second consecutive title after winning the tournament in Newport, Rhode Island last week.

The first half of the first set saw Karlovic with the most opportunities to break, as he was able to take a couple of Monfils service games to a deuce, and Monfils was still not able to gain any momentum on Karlovic’s serve.

“To be honest, today was pure luck,” Monfils said.

Ivo Karlovic road his serve to the finals of the Citi Open, but Gael Monfils was the first man to break it and first man to beat him.

Ivo Karlovic rode his serve to the finals of the Citi Open, but Gael Monfils was the first man to break it and first man to beat him.

Karlovic broke Monfils serve to go up 6-5 in the first set after a double fault by Monfils. Monfils responded and had three break point opportunities on Ivo’s next service game but Karlovic saved them all with powerful forehand winners and an unreturnable first serve that was 141 mph to win the set 7-5.

After Monfils started the second set up 1-0, the crowd started a “Monfils” chant. The second set got off to a similar start as the first set with both players holding serve. Karlovic broke Monfils’ serve in the second set and served for the match up 5-4.

“The crowd was amazing,” Monfils said. “Always I get unbelievable support here. For sure, it helps a lot. At some stage it helps to have something extra and I think I did.”

Karlovic went down 0-40 but was able to send the game to a deuce. Despite rallying, Karlovic loses the service game and the second set was all tied up at 5 games apiece. It was the first time in the entire tournament that Karlovic’s serve was broken.

“I was serving for the match, if it was a normal match I would win it right there. My service stopped at that moment. It happens I guess,” Karlovic said.

The 6-foot-11 Croatian led the tournament with 108 aces, but was not able to deliver when it mattered on Sunday.

At that point, the momentum in the match had shifted and Monfils went on to win the second set tiebreak to send it to a third and final set. The third set was all Monfils as he went up an early break and held serve to clinch the title.

After the match, Monfils ran into the stands to hug his coach and watched his name get added to the list of champions on the awning.

The following two tabs change content below.

Anirudh Sridhar

Latest posts by Anirudh Sridhar (see all)

Comments are closed.