Monfils Slips Past Karlovic To Claim 2016 Citi Open Title
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Gael Monfils showed his tremendous talent, as he dug deep to defeat the big serving Ivo Karlovic 5-7 7-6 6-4 in the 2016 Citi Open final. It’s the first 500 level title for Monfils, and his first title in over two years, as he’s historically struggled in ATP finals.
The Frenchman had a great week in Washington, and his positive mood wasn’t dampened after dropping the first set against Karlovic. The 37 year old Croatian was bidding to win his second ATP title in a row, and he got off to a good start, putting pressure on Monfils serve and eventually breaking, although he had to save three break points from 0-40 down in the ensuing game, serving 6-5 for the first set. That initial tightness under pressure for Ivo would rear its ugly head in the second set.
Despite being broken to go down 7-5 5-4, Monfils was not down for the count after all. Karlovic wasn’t broken all week up to that point, but went 0-40 down serving for the match, and although he got it back to deuce, a fourth break point in the game gave Monfils the chance to attack and level up the match at 5-5. He went on to improve his serving and force a third set with a second set tiebreak victory.
In that third set, the fresher Monfils, a far superior mover, broke Karlovic early, and held serve from there to pull away for the title, leaving Karlovic pleased with his week overall, but disappointed to lose when he was so close to victory. Dr. Ivo had a match point in the second set tiebreak, but it wasn’t on his serve, and despite serving well, with 28 aces and 84% of his first serve points won, he couldn’t win enough return points to prevail in a close match.
In the doubles final, Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Lukasz Kubot and Alexander Peya in a pair of tiebreaks, as the veteran Canadian doubles specialist claimed another ATP title.
It was an exciting week of tennis in Washington to kick off the summer hard court season in the USA. The Citi Open organizers, volunteers and staff deserve credit for running a fantastic event.