ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – French tennis player Gael Monfils defeated Swiss wildcard Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 on Sunday in the final of the Abn Amro World Tennis Tournament in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, earning his eighth career title.
It took Monfils, a former top 10 player, one hour and 44 minutes to improve his head-to-head record against Wawrinka to 3-3, getting revenge for his defeat in the round of 16 at the French Open in 2017, when the Swiss went on to lose the final against Spanish star Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
Making his eighth tournament appearance, Monfils, currently ranked No. 33 in the world, made up for his loss to Slovakia’s Martin Klizan in the final of the 2016 edition.
Monfils, who did not play in the previous two editions of the hard court tournament, took an early 2-1 lead in the first set, having capitalized on the first break points of the match.
After an easy hold in the following game, the Frenchman put his opponent on his back foot once again, getting two break points, but the Swiss three-time Grand Slam champion managed to serve his way out of trouble.
Wawrinka, however, was unable to hold when he served to stay in the first set while trailing 3-5, managing to save the first set point, but not the second.
Momentum appeared to be shifting as Wawrinka found his stride at the beginning of the second set, breaking his opponent’s resistance and serve after a long first game.
Then, the Swiss player overwhelmed Monfils, winning the following three games, but the Frenchman got on the scoreboard for the first time in the second set.
Wawrinka, however, did not allow him back in the set, winning the following two games to draw level at one set apiece.
Although Wawrinka kicked off the third set in strong fashion, holding his first service game without dropping a point, he was broken in the third game, giving Monfils a 2-1 lead.
The third set had more bad news for the Swiss player, who saw his serve broken once more in the seventh game.
A cool-headed Monfils saved a break point in the following game, while serving for the match, and then he sealed the win on the first match point he had.