ATP roundup: Monfils tops Wawrinka in Rotterdam
Gael Monfils beat his training partner Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 on Sunday at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament to capture his first ATP Tour title in 13 months.
Tennis - ATP 500 - Rotterdam Open - Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands - February 17, 2019 France's Gael Monfils shakes hands with Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka after winning their Final match REUTERS/Yves Herman
It took one hour and 44 minutes for Monfils to win the match in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Frenchman now holds a lifetime 8-21 record in ATP Tour finals.
Wawrinka, of Switzerland, won the tournament in 2015.
“We have been practicing all winter together, and really for the past 14 years, too,” Monfils, 32, said after the match, per ATPtour.com. “In these matches, it’s tricky to surprise the other. I was a bit tougher than him in the third set and changed the rhythm, as I felt he was playing heavy in the second set and I felt like I couldn’t handle it. I had to break his momentum. I had to be more aggressive and sneak in some serve-and-volley tennis.”
Wawrinka last competed in a tour-level final in the 2017 French Open, which he lost to Rafael Nadal. He is 16-13 in finals in his career.
“It was a tough final and Gael played really well,” Wawrinka said. “He did what he had to do at the right moments. I was struggling with my footwork at times to be more aggressive on my groundstrokes. That’s what made the difference.”
Third-seeded Marco Cecchinato of Italy finished off a stellar tournament, defeating home-crowd favorite and fourth-seeded Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2 in Buenos Aires.
Cecchinato did not drop a set throughout the week on the way to his third tour title.
“I was able to play a great match and was always focused. I followed the game plan from the beginning to the end,” the 26-year-old Italian said. “I was able to win the first two matches (of the tournament) the hard way, working point by point. I improved my level yesterday and I was focused today, so I’m happy with how I was able to win the tournament.”
For the tournament, he led all players with second-serve points won (63 percent) and second-serve return points won (64 percent).
Schwartzman, also 26, was just one more challenger to fall.
“Marco played a great match and deserved to be the champion. He didn’t let me do anything today,” he said. “Playing at home and getting to the final was very nice for me. I had the unconditional support of the fans all week and that respect is something that makes me feel good despite the bad result.”
New York Open
American Reilly Opelka earned his first ATP Tour title with a three-set win over Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur, 6-1, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (7) at New York.
Opelka, 21, recorded 43 aces in Sunday’s match although it took six championship points for him to finally put away 23-year-old Schnur with his final ace. The win came a day after surviving six match points to beat top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals.
Slideshow (5 Images)
Schnur, who arrived in New York having never won a tour-level match before, mounted a remarkable comeback against Opelka after losing the first set in less than 20 minutes. Tied at six games all in the second set, Opelka had two match points in the tiebreaker but a double fault on the second match point allowed Schnur to force the deciding set.
Neither player dropped serve in the third set, which led to the final-set tiebreaker. A big first serve by Schnur at 7-7 appeared to set up championship point, but a challenge by Opelka showed the ball was out. Schnur double faulted the point away and Opelka seized the opportunity to win with his 43rd ace of the day to end the match after two hours and one minute.
—Field Level Media