ATP Tour

Monfils to face Klizan in Rotterdam final

2016-02-14 07:39
Gael Monfils (AFP)

Rotterdam - Frenchman Gael Monfils wasted no time in claiming a place in the Rotterdam World Tennis final on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The fifth seed, who was playing his first semi-final of 2016, won his 12th match from 14 career meetings in 76 minutes over the 32-year-old German, whose last win in the series came in 2013.

Monfils will aim for the sixth trophy of his career in Sunday's final against Slovak Martin Klizan who saw off French qualifier Nicolas Mahut 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 after saving three match points.

Monfils advanced with seven aces and converting three breaks points.

"It's always tough against Philipp, I had to play my best for this win. I saved enough energy from the quarter-finals (when he beat German Alexander Zverev) to play well today," said the French player.

"I had to play aggressive tennis."

Klizan's win was his second successive escape of the week after saving five match points in his quarter-final win over Robert Bautista Agut.

The Slovak is riding a run of form after playing in last week's Sofia semi-final following a 0-3 start to the season, uncomfortably changing racquets and then going back to his former stick.

Klizan was playing in back-to-back semi-finals for the first time in his career.

"It was almost impossible for me to win this match," the Slovak said.

"Nicolas was serving so well. Into the second set, his level was so much higher than mine. All I could do was keep trying and have fun. I hope it helped.

"I was really lucky today to get the win. It's great to be in my first 500-level final, I'll be ready for it.

"The first part of the match was quite boring for me, and for the crowd, so I said 'let's have some fun and enjoy this game. Maybe that's why I won the match."

Klizan lost the opening set in 46 minutes as the 34-year-old Mahut rained down 11 aces.

He then went down a break in the seventh game of the second set but levelled for 5-5, which he celebrated with an acrobatic somersault.

As the set went into a tiebreaker, his level rose, saving match points and taking the tight contest into a third set on a passing winner.

In the final set, the Slovak took command with a break to start and added another for a 4-1 margin. He erupted in joy after advancing on his own second match point.

The 26-year-old, ranked 43rd with three career titles, will be appearing in the fourth final of his career.


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