06
Jan
12

Monfils downs Rafa to move into the final against Tsonga.

Gm

Gael Monfils set up an All-French final at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open Friday, defeating World No. 2 Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in Doha. Monfils will meet countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday’s title match. “It’s always really tough to play against Jo because he has a powerful game, and kind of game [where] it’s tough to manipulate him from the baseline,” Monfils said. “I need just to focus on my game and focus on my mind. It’s always tougher to be like this in the final against a friend. You want to show him you’re the best, and sometimes, you’re going too fast, and sometimes you’re a bit shaky. You have to find a balance.” Monfils won the first set after converting the lone break point opportunity of the set in the sixth game. Nadal regrouped to begin the second set, taking a 4-1 lead before Monfils picked up his level of play. During one stretch, Monfils hit 19 consecutive first serves in play. He broke Nadal in back-to-back return games to move ahead 5-4, and closed out the one hour and 36 minute victory on his third match point. “I just focused on my game and being aggressive,” said Monfils. “Today everything worked.” With the win, Monfils snapped a five-match losing streak to Nadal; his other win against the 25 year old came in the Doha quarter-finals three years ago.

Tsonga advanced to the final after Roger Federer withdrew prior to their match with a back injury. He holds a 2-1 record against Monfils, but his compatriot won their most recent encounter in Montpellier in 2010.

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