Sunday, July 24, 2016

Monfils beats Karlovic to take Citi Open title

Monfils beats Karlovic to take Citi Open title

Gael Monfils saved a match point to beat Ivo Karlovic 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4 and claim the 2016 Citi Open title.

Monfils takes home 500 ATP Rankings points and $348,200 in prize money.

"It's a real pleasure for me," Monfils said during the trophy presentation. "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 pressured Karlovic's serve throughout the title bout, including a 0/40 look at 6-5 in the first set, but was not able to break through until the 10th game of the second. Karlovic served for the title at 5-4 and Monfils came up with his first break of the match at the most opportune of moments. The big-serving Croat sent a volley long on the fourth break point of the game to give Monfils the break back. It marked the first time Karlovic had been broken in 54 service games during the week.

Monfils would go on to save a match point at 6-5 in the tie-break with a service winner and forced a decider three points later. The Frenchman would claim the decisive break at 1-1 in the third set. After 53 consecutive service holds, Karlovic was broken twice in four games, as a backhand approach sailed long. Monfils would eventually clinch the title on his first match point.

"I was serving better in the first two sets," said Karlovic. "I don't know why, but my serve stopped [when serving for the match]. It happens I guess. I'm not used to that. 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."