[WC] Gael Monfils (FRA) def Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 63 16 63
3-time Doha Finalist Gael Monfils was a bit out-of-sorts on Wednesday night, but his booming serve saw him through three sets.
He and Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff had played just once before, in the 2nd-Round of the 2014 French Open. Monfils won that match in straight-sets, but that was before the German’s career-best season last year. Not to mention, Struff had just knocked-off 2015 Finalist Tomas Berdych the night before. He was confident and ready to dissect LeMonf at the net.
Ankle Tweaks and Toe Plants
At 1-all in the first, Gael tweaked his ankle while running down a forehand at the back of the court. It took several games for him to get back in rhythm, but his serve kept him alive. Up 4-3, on-serve, Monfils scored a timely break thanks to a Struff mental hiccup at the net. A game later, Gael was a up a set.
Both fast players, they picked up the pace even further in the second. Jan-Lennard regrouped, while Gael injured his toe hustling down a backhand. From 1-all, Struff won the next five games to level the match.
In game-2 of the third, a Struff double fault gave Monfils 2 break chances early. Gael missed the first. Struff handed him the game with the second, launching a forehand long. All Monfils had to do was hold the rest of the way to reach his sixth career Doha Quarterfinal, earning his 21st match victory in Doha.
Next up: Quarterfinals. Peter Gojowczyk
The last time Peter Gojowczyk played this event, he emerged from qualifying and couldn’t stop winning. In 2014, he upset Thiem, Kohlschreiber and Dustin Brown before falling to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals.
This year, the World #60 was spared from qualifying and upset the 6-seed Filip Krajinovic in Round-1. He dispatched qualifier Matteo Barrettini in the Round of 16 and finds himself poised to return to the Semifinals.
Gojowczyk and Monfils have played once before, in the 2014 Davis Cup Quarterfinals, where Monfils won in straight sets.
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. MAKING HIS 8TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN APPEARANCE, YESTERDAY HE DEFEATED PAOLO LORENZI TO REACH TONIGHT’S ROUND OF 16 MATCH. FROM FRANCE, PLEASE WELCOME 3-TIME QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN FINALIST – GAEL MONFILS
YESTERDAY, THIS 27-YEAR-OLD DEFEATED 2015 DOHA FINALIST TOMAS BERDYCH IN A THRILLING DECIDING-SET TIE-BREAK, TO REACH TONIGHT’S ROUND OF 16 MATCH. LAST YEAR, HE ENJOYED HIS MOST SUCCESSFUL SEASON ON TOUR, REACHING HIS 17TH CAREER ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINAL IN CANBRERRA, WHERE HE ALSO WON THE DOUBLES TITLE. THEN AT THE MONTE CARLO MASTERS, HE DEFEATED WORLD #11 GRIGOR DIMITROV TO REACH THE ROUND OF 16, CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #44 IN THE WORLD, REACHED THE SEMIFINALS IN WINSTON-SALEM AND ST. PETERSBURG, AND UPSET WORLD #15 AND US OPEN FINALIST KEVIN ANDERSON AT THE SHANGHAI MASTERS. NOT TO MENTION, HIS CLUTCH PERFORMANCES AGAINST PORTUGAL IN THE WORLD GROUP PLAYOFFS KEPT GERMANY IN THE DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FOR 2018. THE OWNER OF 5 ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLES, HIS BIGGEST WIN CAME AT THE 2016 PARIS MASTERS, WHERE HE DEFEATED WORLD #3 STAN WAWRINKA IN A DECIDING-SET TIE-BREAK. COMPETING IN HIS 5TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM GERMANY, PLEASE WELCOME – JAN-LENNARD STRUFF.