DOHA, Qatar (AP) Gael Monfils won the Qatar Open title on his fourth appearance in the final with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Andrey Rublev of Russia on Saturday.
The 46th-ranked Monfils, a former top-10 player, lost previous finals at the tournament to Roger Federer in 2006, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2012, and Rafael Nadal in 2014.
”I’ve been very close and finally I get it,” Monfils said after winning his seventh career title.
Monfils was playing in his first tournament since a right-knee injury forced him to retire during his U.S. Open third-round match in September.
”I had a long rest and I’m a lot stronger for 2018,” Monfils said. ”I didn’t expect to win the first tournament, but I’m happy I did.”
The 39th-ranked Rublev nervously rushed on many shots against the more experienced Monfils.
Rublev countered his 21 winners with an equal number of unforced errors, while Monfils posted 29 winners to only 10 unforced errors in the one-hour match.
”I think I was completed tired today,” Rublev said. ”We played only one hour and the match was almost without chances for me.”
Monfils broke his opponent’s serve to go ahead 3-1 in both sets. The Frenchman faced two break points in the match, but saved both which came in the fifth game of the second set.
In the first set, Monfils broke Rublev a second time in the final game. In the second set, he had to serve out the match in the ninth game.
Monfils reached the final without hitting a ball in the semifinals when top-seeded Dominic Thiem withdrew from the tournament because of illness.