DOHA, January 6, 2018
Gael Monfils rode a dominant serving display and dogged defence to claim his seventh ATP World Tour title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. The French wild card entry defeated #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 in Saturday’s final.
Monfils saved both break points he faced, capitalizing on three of his own to prevail after exactly one hour of play. Appearing in his fourth final in Doha, Monfils broke through for his first tournament title. Runner-up in 2006 (l. t Federer), 2012 (l. to Tsonga) and 2014 (l. to Nadal), it was fourth time lucky for the Frenchman. He takes away from the desert $218,180 in prize money as well as 250 ATP ranking points.
“I’m very happy. I like this tournament so much. I always come back and I finally got it,” Monfils said. “So I’m just very happy and very proud. It’s been a while. I was waiting for that moment to get back in shape. In 2016, I was almost on my top and I had a very good year, finishing at No. 6. I couldn’t really defend my chances in 2017. I had a long rest and came back strong in 2018, which was a goal. I wouldn’t say I was expecting to win the first tournament, but I’m more than happy that I did.”
Despite the loss, Andrey Rublev is projected to rise to a career-high No. 32 in the ATP Rankings. He was appearing in his second ATP World Tour final, having won his maiden title in Umag last year.
“Of course it was great week for me. It’s a great start for me. I didn’t expect that I’m going to be in the finals, which is great. I’m of course I’m happy to be in the final. I’m happy with my result this week. And I hope and I wish I can be more consistent. I hope it’s not going to be only one week like this,” the 20-year-old Russian stated.
Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic won their second team title with a 6-2, 7-6 victory over top seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares on Friday. The encounter lasted one hour and 14 minutes.
“We played the whole week really great tennis. Especially for me it was very important. I didn’t know how I would play because I had not a great winter, I was injured. Then I came here just three or four practices and if you look at that, that we’re now the winners here, it’s amazing,” said Marach, who won his 18th tour-level crown.