WASHINGTON, July 25, 2016
Gael Monfils fought off a championship point to claim his first ATP World Tour 500 title in Washington. The second seed from France overcame Ivo Karlovic, winning 5-7, 7-6, 6-4.
Monfils only won 49% of the total points played but withstood 28 aces, hitting 16 of his own to prevail in two hours and 13 minutes. It was the French’s sixth title in total on the ATP World Tour and first since prevailing in Montpellier two years ago. The 29 year old is the first Frenchman to lift the Citi Open trophy since Arnaud Clement in 2006. Yannick Noah is the only other player from France to win the title, in 1985.
“It’s a real pleasure for me. When I first came, I saw big names like Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah and I said ‘I want to have my name next to them’. They have been big inspirations for me. Every time I come here, the crowd has been really great to me and amazing,” Monfils was happy.
Ivo Karlovic, who was attempting to become the oldest player to win ATP World Tour singles titles in successive weeks since Ken Rosewall in 1973, falls to 7-9 in finals.
“I was going to win and I lost my serve. That is tennis. Of course, every match you have a little bit of pressure. I’ve dealt with that in many matches and usually I’m able to get over it. Today I couldn’t. But it was a great week,” Karlovic told.
Earlier on Sunday, Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin lifted their second team trophy on the ATP World Tour. The Canadian-French-combination beat Lukasz Kubot and Alexander Peya 7-6, 7-6 in one hour and 48 minutes.
“I feel fortunate, considering the conditions. I’m fortunate the humidity wasn’t a factor as much, but the heat was pretty terrible. It was an up-and-down match for both teams. We won a couple more big points than they did,” former World No. 1 Nestor said. It was his 90th tour-level doubles crown, remaining in third place on the Open Era titles list.
Roger-Vasselin improved to 12-5 in finals and added:
“We knew we were playing well and had this opportunity because we could play well. We knew we could win through the tie-break. We just had to stay focused on the game. It’s always good to have a title. It’s good for my confidence, it’s good for my ranking, it’s good for prize money, it’s good for everything.”