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Monfils Outlasted In Battle For Paris Title

Monday, November 16, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas MastersFinalist Gael Monfils joins Paris Masters tournament officials post match
(Photos by ©FFT/C.Saadi)

In an epic three-setter at the 2009 BNP Paribas Masters tournament in Paris, France on Sunday, No. 15 seed Gaël Monfils was outlasted by the the No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3) in a match that thrilled the crowd for two and three-quarter hours.

Local hero Monfils confounded the pundits who presumed that Djokovic would make mincemeat of him as the Serb had done to the mighty Rafael Nadal 24 hours earlier. With adrenaline coursing through his veins and the roars of a 13,000-strong partisan crowd behind him, Monfils made light of the fatigue he was feeling after a protracted semi-final and battled all the way to a third set tie-break, treating his supporters to a roller-coaster ride along the way.

The first set was all Djokovic, as the 6-2 scoreline would suggest. He won his first seven points on service and lost only three all set, while his returns sent Monfils scurrying from side to side in a vain attempt to keep pace. The writing appeared to be on the wall when the Serb raced into a 3-0 lead in the second, but then the rigours of over 90 matches this season caught up with him, mentally more than physically. Monfils saw a chink of light and crept through, aided by Djokovic’s sudden propensity for coming to the net and then fluffing his volleys. 3-0 became 3-3, and just as a tie-break seemed on the cards, the Frenchman upped the intensity on his returns and broke to lead 6-5. An ace in the next game sent the crowd into paroxysms of ecstasy and the match was level at one set all.

Djokovic again broke to open the decider, and though Monfils responded immediately the Serb broke again and finally got some daylight between himself and his 23-year-old opponent at 4-1. Despite a sudden rash of double-faults – four in the space of six points – Monfils hauled himself back into the match and when Djokovic suddenly lost his radar in terms of length, the match was back level at 4-4.

A tie-break was the only way to decide what had been a fitting culmination to an incredible tournament, and the fans were indeed treated to the equivalent of a penalty shoot-out. Monfils was asked to summon up one last valiant effort, but it was not to be, and while his double-fault on match point may haunt him over the coming weeks, it will soon be expunged from the memories of those who witnessed his performance in the final and indeed throughout the week.

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas Masters2009 Paris Masters champion and finalist Novak Djokovic, Serbia and Gael Monfils, France

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas MastersBlack Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas Masters

Posted by Shelia

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