Monfils Returns To Rotterdam Final
Frenchman to face Auger-Aliassime for trophy
Monfils, No. 9 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, landed 35 winners to move past Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6(5) and reach his third ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final on Saturday. Monfils is one win away from becoming the first man since Robin Soderling in 2011 to win back-to-back trophies at the Rotterdam Ahoy.
“It would be great [to win this title again]. It would be, for me, unbelievable. It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me,” said Monfils.
With his third ATP Head2Head win against Krajinovic, Monfils has now reached the championship match in each of his three most recent visits to the opening ATP 500 event of the year. Since 2016, Monfils has won 13 of 14 matches in Rotterdam. Martin Klizan was the last player to defeat Monfils at this event in the 2016 championship match.
Monfils will be aiming to lift his 10th ATP Tour title in Sunday’s final. The defending champion has won six of his nine tour-level crowns at indoor hard-court events, most recently at last week’s Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Only Andrey Rublev has won multiple ATP Tour titles so far this season.
Monfils will meet #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first time in the championship match. The World No. 21 served well throughout his 7-6(2), 6-4 semi-final victory against Pablo Carreno Busta to reach his fourth tour-level final.
“[Felix] is a great guy. A humble guy. Very strong… He is a very talented guy. Definitely, I expect a tough match, but a cool match because I think we might see him for a long time, definitely in this part of a tournament on this stage,” said Monfils.
With neither player able to manufacture a break point in the opening nine games of the match, Monfils capitalised on nervous play from his opponent to snatch the opening set. After saving two set points, Krajinovic committed a double fault and a loose forehand error to hand Monfils a third opportunity. Monfils claimed the set with a defensive lob that Krajinovic could only clip with the frame of his racquet.
After trading breaks early in the second set, Monfils failed to find the court on a forehand passing shot as four match-point opportunities passed him by at 5-4. In the tie-break, Monfils won three straight points to claim victory. The 33-year-old returned with depth and landed his 14th ace of the match to reach his second final in as many weeks.
“[Filip] wasn’t missing at all,” said Monfils. “He made some tough shots on some match points… I was very lucky that he missed that volley at 5/4 and then I hit a great return at 5/5 and a great serve to close the match.”
Krajinovic was bidding to reach his fourth ATP Tour final and earn a second career Top 10 win. En route to the last four in Rotterdam, the Serbian became only the second player to defeat Rublev this year alongside Alexander Zverev.