Monfils Triumphs In Stockholm
There was no surprise at the Swedish event as top seed Gael Monfils edged Jarkko Nieminen in three sets, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to clinch his first title of the year.
The French needed nearly two hours to win the final which marked at the same time the second meeting between the world number 62 and tenth ranked Monfils. The two players exchanged five breaks only in the opener with Monfils taking the first lead thanks to a late one which gave him some confidence against the stubborn Scadinavian.
Nieminen evened the situation with some ease, breaking his opponent twice in the second term. Monfils also won a break but that did not hinder the Finnish to push the meeting further into a third set decider. Finally, the last set saw Monfils come from behind and convert two out of eight break points to the dismay of Jarkko who could only build two break points.
Gael beat the Finnish for the second time, the head to head series between the two having gone 2-0. Monfils finished the game with an impressive 72 first serve percentage, 13 aces, a double faults and a 63 service percentage. He also converted six out of 17 break points and 45 percent of return points, compared to his opponent’s showing which featured a 64 first serve percentage, four double faults, an ace and four breaks.
Said the French winner after the clash: “My concentration was the key for me today. Jarkko was playing good when he was in front. Some spots in the match were high level tennis and he was moving well. At the end I think he got a bit fatigued. I played him three weeks ago, but I was more impressed with him today.”
En route to the final, Monfils ousted Milos Raonic in three sets after losing the opener, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the semi finals, Kevin Anderson 7-5, 7-5 in the best eight term and Bernard TOmic 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 in the second round. On the other side, Nieminen impressed with impressive wins over James Blake whom the Finnish edged at the death, 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 in the semis.
In the quarter finals, the Finnish defeated Tobias Kamke 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, while the second round brought him a big win over seed Stanislas Wawrinka whom he eliminated in straight easy sets, 6-3, 6-4. Jarkko made his debut with a 6-3, 7-6 win against Romania’s Marius Copil.
Monfils is to pocket 96,800 euro and receive 250 points ATP, while Nieminen will bank 50,900 euro and 150 points.
Stockholm Prize Money and points:
Winner – 96,800 euro and 250 points ATP
Runner up – 50,900 euro and 150 points ATP
Semi finalist – 27,600 euro and 90 points ATP
Quarter finalist – 15,730 euro and 45 points ATP
R16 – 9,265 euro and 20 points ATP
R32 – 5,500 euro and zero points11