[WC] Gael Monfils (FRA) def Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 63 36 64
Gael Monfils is back. Gael Monfils is healthy. In his first event since retiring from his 3rd-Round US Open clash with David Goffin, Monfils is excited to back in Doha, where he’s a 3-time Finalist. He fell to Federer in the 2006 Final, Tsonga in the 2012 Final, and Nadal in 2014. Currently the World #46, Monfils is a Wild Card in this year’s draw.
Monfils now 3-0 against a tireless Paolo Lorenzi
Credit to 36-year-old Paolo Lorenzi, who’s an absolute work horse. Last year, he played more events than any other top-100 player, competing in 34 tournaments and two Davis Cup Ties. He reached two Tour-level Finals, won his 19th Challenger title and climbed to a career-high ranking of #33 in the world. At the US Open, he became the oldest player in the Open Era to reach the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time.
Monfils dominated Lorenzi in their previous two meetings. Tuesday night was a different story.
Lorenzi takes Monfils 3-sets
Monfils won the first three games, while Paolo struggled to find his groove early on. Down 2-4, Paolo got back on serve – but Monfils broke right back and served out the set.
In the second, Paolo was consistent and relentless at the net. He broke to go up 4-2, then leveled the match on-serve.
Set-3 started around 11:30p. At 2-all, Lorenzi missed two break chances from 15-40. Monfils answered with a steady return game of his own, and after an exhausting 26-shot rally, scored his third break of the match to take a 4-2 lead. But Lorenzi wasn’t done. He kept Gael from serving out the match and got back on serve – but as he did in set-1, Monfils responded in kind and earned the win.
Next up: Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated Tomas Berdych on Tuesday
Earlier in the day, Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff earned a deciding tiebreak victory over 2015 Doha Finalist Tomas Berdych. The 2-plus-hours match was one of the reasons Monfils played well past midnight. Monfils and Struff haven’t met since the 2014 French Open, where Gael won their 2nd-Round match in straight sets, after a 1st-set tiebreak.
AT 31-YEARS-OLD, HE IS ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC SHOW-MEN THE SPORT HAS EVER SEEN. A 3-TIME FINALIST ON THIS COURT, HE ALWAYS PLAYS HIS BEST TENNIS HERE IN DOHA. IN FACT, 4 OF HIS 30 CAREER TOP-10 VICTORIES HAVE COME HERE IN QATAR, INCLUDING A DEFEAT OF WORLD #1 RAFAEL NADAL IN THE 2009 QUARTERFINALS. A 2-TIME GRAND SLAM SEMIFINALIST, HE NOW OWNS 6 ATP WORLD TOUR SINGLES TITLES; AND LAST YEAR, EARNED HIS 400TH CAREER MATCH-WIN AT ROLAND GARROS, THEN REACHED HIS 26TH CAREER FINAL – AND FIRST ON GRASS – AT EASTBOURNE. RANKED AS HIGH AS #6 IN THE WORLD, HE’S A 2-TIME OLYMPIAN, WAS A QUARTERFINALIST AT THE SUMMER GAMES IN BOTH BEIJING AND RIO, AND AS A MEMBER OF HIS COUNTRY’S DAVIS CUP TEAM, HELPED LEAD FRANCE TO THE DAVIS CUP FINAL IN 2010 AND 2014. COMPETING HERE IN DOHA FOR THE 8TH TIME, FROM FRANCE, PLEASE WELCOME 3-TIME QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN FINALIST – GAEL MONFILS
AT 36-YEARS-OLD, THIS TIRELESS ITALIAN IS PLAYING THE BEST TENNIS OF HIS CAREER. LAST YEAR, HE REACHED HIS 3RD AND 4TH TOUR-LEVEL FINALS IN QUITO AND UMAG, CAPTURED HIS 19TH CAREER ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLE, CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #33 IN THE WORLD; AND AT THE US OPEN IN NEW YORK, BECAME THE OLDEST PLAYER IN THE OPEN ERA TO REACH THE ROUND OF 16 AT A GRAND SLAM FOR THE FIRST TIME. LAST YEAR, HE PLAYED IN MORE EVENTS THAN ANY OTHER TOP-100 PLAYER, COMPETING IN 34 TOURNAMENTS, 2 DAVIS CUP TIES…AND WITH HIS CHALLENGER VICTORY IN ITALY, IS NOW THE 3RD MOST PROLIFIC PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF THE ATP CHALLENGER TOUR. A MEMBER OF HIS COUNRY’S OLYMPIC AND DAVIS CUP TEAMS, HE WON HIS FIRST CAREER TOUR-LEVEL TITLE JUST 18-MONTHS-AGO IN KITZBUHEL. COMPETING IN HIS 6TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM ITALY, PLEASE WELCOME – PAOLO LORENZI