Gael Monfils beats qualifier Pavel Kotov to win Stockholm Open – ‘I saved believing and combating’

Gael Monfils got here from a set right down to beat qualifier Pavel Kotov 4-6 7-6(6) 6-3 and win the Stockholm Open for a second time.

The Frenchman, in claiming his first title of the season, grew to become the oldest champion within the historical past of the Swedish event because the 37-year-old lifted his first trophy for the reason that Adelaide Worldwide in January of final 12 months.

Monfils needed to show nice athleticism to remain in some robust rallies in opposition to his heavy-hitting Russian counterpart, as Kotov appeared to step into the court docket and dictate proceedings along with his thunderous forehand.

Kotov, the primary qualifier to achieve a tour-level closing since Jiri Vesely in Dubai final 12 months, needed to deal with Monfils sitting deep behind the baseline, absorbing his opponent’s energy, and demonstrating improbable guile and contact to disrupt the 24-year-old’s rhythm.

A specific spotlight was a Monfils backhand from approach out huge at 5-4, 15-0 down within the first set because the Frenchman confirmed nice attain to make the return and direct it with pinpoint accuracy down the road for a clear winner.

“Credit score to Pavel,” Monfils mentioned after his victory. “He has had an unbelievable week and he was pushing me on the court docket. I ran quite a bit at this time.

“After I needed to save break factors within the second set, I attempted to push via. I do not know the way I pulled up however I saved believing and combating.”

Monfils arrived within the Swedish capital ranked world No. 140, having struggled with niggling accidents within the earlier months of the 12 months.

In Stockholm, the veteran dropped simply two units in his run to the ultimate, together with beating seventh seed Christopher Eubanks in his first match, and No. 2 seed and compatriot Adrian Mannarino within the quarter-finals.

Monfils, along with his twelfth title, has grow to be the lowest-ranked tour champion since Borna Sosa in Cincinnati final 12 months, when the Croat was ranked world No. 152, and the Frenchman now rises to world No. 89.

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