Nadal Finds Way to Title in Doha; France wins Hopman Cup
Rafael Nadal honestly did not look great in Doha, but he captured the title there for the first time in his career, 6-1 6-7 6-2 over Gael Monfils.
Nadal got out to a very fast start in the final, but Monfils would make a second set charge, eventually capturing it in a tiebreak and forcing a third. But in that third, Nadal would again raise his level and finish the match with ease.
Nadal beat Lukas Rosol in straights, Tobias Kamke in 3 sets, Ernests Gulbis in straights and Peter Gojowczyk in 3 sets to reach the final. He played very well for periods in all of those matches and rather poorly in other periods, all in all still trying to find his form and play consistently. Gojowczyk, a qualifier, most notably scored a win against his countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber en route to the semis in a tournament that was dominated by upsets. Seeded players Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco all fell before the quarterfinals.
Monfils played some tremendous and entertaining tennis this week, harking back to some of his top 15 level play years ago, as he scored wins over Santiago Giraldo, a hobbled Richard Gasquet, Daniel Brands and an exhausted Florian Mayer. Mayer was a surprise semifinalist as well. His biggest win came in a 3 set comeback against Andy Murray, who played the third set with signs of injury issues.
Tomas Berdych/Jan Hajek took the doubles title over Alex Peya/Bruno Soares.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet beat a surprise Polish team in the Hopman Cup final, as the French team went 3-0 in round robin play, 7-2 in overall matches, and then won the final 2-1. Tsonga beat Grzegorz Panfil in men’s singles, Agnieszka Radwanska beat Cornet in women’s singles, and the French team won the mixed doubles.
Notable other showings include the partial withdrawal of the USA team of John Isner/Sloane Stephens with injuries, along with team Italy doing the same (Andreas Seppi/Flavia Pennetta). Panfil upset Milos Raonic in singles. A massive result. Radek Stepanek also upset Raonic in men’s singles.
—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast