Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monfils vs Stepanek in Washington tennis final

Monfils vs Stepanek in Washington tennis final

Gael Monfils edged John Isner 6-4, 3-6 7-5 to reach the final at the 2011 ATP Washington Classic.

Isner and Monfils staged a classic despite a rain delay at the start and two interruptions that pushed the end to 1:15 in the morning, when Isner netted a forehand after a Monfils lob winner.

"I'm very happy," Monfils said. "It's not finished, but almost a great achievement. I have had a tough year. I had an injury and a new coach. To come up strong again, it feels good."

Monfils will play against Radek Stepanek, who ousted Donald Young 6-3, 6-3.

"It will be a tough match," Monfils said. "He will be aggressive. I will have to be strong from the start because it won't be easy."

Stepanek has dropped five of seven meetings with Monfils, including their most recent clash two weeks ago on Hamburg clay.

"He's moving incredibly well," Stepanek said. "He's a great shotmaker."

Isner denied Monfils on two match points in the 10th game of the third set.

"It's frustrating because on match point, the machine goes down," Monfils said. "That's the first time that has happened to me."

In the tie-breaker, neither player took a point off the other's serve until the decider. Isner blasted a 127-mph ace to reach his lone match point at 6-5, but Monfils answered with a 110-mph ace, setting up the drama-ending shots.

"The 6-all point he hit a huge second serve, put it on the line and lobbed me," Isner said. "It was a risky shot and then I cracked on match point."

Rain dogged Monfils and Isner, delaying their start, returning after they had played only seven points and striking again after Isner held to lead 5-2 in the second set, sending Monfils to talk with new coach Patrick Chamagne.

"I had the feel of his game and his serve," Monfils said. "I discussed with my coach and released all the frustration I had."

Monfils took the only break of the first set to lead 5-4 when Isner smacked a forehand wide and the Frenchman held serve with a 109-mph ace to win the set.

But Monfils netted a forehand drop volley in the second game of the second set and Isner rode the break to claim the set, the only disruption coming during a pause after a 107-mph Isner serve hit a spectator in the face.

"This tournament can give me a kick for the rest of the season," Stepanek said. "If I can make it to the US Open and be seeded, that would be great for me."

Source AP