[WC] Gael Monfils (FRA) def Andrey Rublev 62 63
Week-1 of the season in Doha has always been a special time and place for tennis’ eclectic showman. Since 2005, he’s made the trek to Qatar eight times. 50% of those excursions have included a trip to the Final. Finally, on January 6th, 2018 – Gael Monfils won the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title.
At last, the stars aligned for Monfils
During his second Doha run back in 2006, Monfils fell to World #1 Roger Federer in the championship match. Six years later, World #6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga emerged the victor. In 2014, World #1 Rafael Nadal finally defeated Monfils in their third career Doha meeting, making Gael a 3-time bridesmaid. Gael was ranked #30, #16 and #31 in those respective championship matches.
On Saturday night, in his first tournament since September’s US Open, the World #46 and Doha Wild Card captured the falcon with a straight-sets win over World #39, 20-year-old Andrey Rublev of Russia.
It’s Gael’s 7th career ATP World Tour title; his 20th career Finals appearance.
Andrey Rublev. Picking up right where he left off
This time last year, ranked outside the top-150, 19-year-old Andrey Rublev was on the practice court preparing for Australian Open qualifying. He won all three of those qualifying matches and reached the 2nd-Round in his Grand Slam debut. By season’s end, he climbed to a career-high ranking of World #40 and reached the championship match of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. His 2017 was extraordinary, packed with career firsts.
Rublev’s 2018 begins as last year ended, with a finalist run at Tour-level event.
Gael Monfils' Road to the Title
- FF def. Andrey Rublev 62 63
- SF walkover Dominic Thiem
- QF def. Peter Gojowczyk 63 76(6)
- R2 def. Jan-Lennard Struff 63 16 63
- R1 def. Paolo Lorenzi 63 36 64
Andrey Rublev's Road to the Final
- FF lost Gael Monfils 26 36
- SF def. Guido Pella 62 46 76(2)
- QF def. Borna Coric 63 75
- R2 def. Fernando Versaco 64 36 64
- R1 def. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 61 00 (ret)
FOR THE FOURTH TIME SINCE HIS DOHA DEBUT IN 2005, THIS 31-YEAR-OLD IS COMPETING IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH HERE IN DOHA. A 2-TIME GRAND SLAM SEMIFINALIST, HE OWNS 6 ATP WORLD TOUR SINGLES TITLES, IS A 26-TIME FINALIST, AND HAS EARNED 30 CAREER VICTORIES OVER TOP-10 OPPONENTS; FOUR OF WHICH HAVE COME RIGHT HERE IN DOHA, INCLUDING A WIN OVER RAFAEL NADAL IN THE 2009 QUARTERFINALS. RANKED AS HIGH AS #6 IN THE WORLD, HE’S A 2-TIME OLYMPIC QUARTERFINALIST, AND HELPED LIFT FRANCE TO THE DAVIS CUP FINAL IN 2010 AND 2014. LAST MAY, HE WON HIS 400TH CAREER MATCH AT ROLAND GARROS; AND TONIGHT, IS IN PURSUIT OF WIN NUMBER 415. COMPETING IN HIS 8TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM FRANCE – PLEASE WELCOME 4-TIME DOHA FINALIST, GAEL MONFILS
IN THE SEMIFINALS, THIS 20-YEAR-OLD SAVED MATCH-POINT TO DEFEAT GUIDO PELLA IN A DECIDING-SET TIE-BREAK; AND STARTS THE NEW YEAR JUST AS HE FINISHED 2017 – COMPETING IN A CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH. LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, HE WAS RANKED OUTSIDE THE TOP-150, PRACTICING FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN QUALIES. BUT BY SEASON’S END, HE WAS RANKED INSIDE THE TOP-40. IN MELBOURNE, HE QUALIFIED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN AND REACHED THE 2ND-ROUND IN HIS GRAND SLAM MAIN DRAW DEBUT. HE WON HIS FIRST CAREER TOUR-LEVEL TITLE IN UMAG, REACHED THE MAIN-DRAW AT BOTH ROLAND GARROS AND WIMBLEDON, AND AT THE US OPEN IN NEW YORK – BECAME THE YOUNGEST US OPEN QUARTERFINALIST SINCE ANDY RODDICK IN 2001. HE COMPLETED HIS BREAK-THROPUGH SEASON IN NOVEMBER BY REACHING THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH AT THE NEXT GEN ATP FINALS IN MILAN. INTO THE FINAL IN HIS DOHA DEBUT – FROM RUSSIA, PLEASE WELCOME ANDREY RUBLEV