Welcome to Winner’s Circle, a segment where we review each winner of every ATP and WTA tournament during the truncated 2020 season.

In this edition, we follow charismatic Frenchman Gael Monfils as he attempts to win a third title at the Open Sud de France, equaling a record set by compatriot Richard Gasquet in 2016.

Open Sud de France
Winner: Gael Monfils

Being the top seed in Montpellier ensured Monfils had an opening-round bye, as the Frenchman faced compatriot Adrian Mannarino in the second round. Monfils prevailed in a 4-6 6-1 6-4 encounter that saw him improve to 3-2 in career meetings with Mannarino.

The two-time champion (2010, 2014) faced unseeded Slovakian Norbert Gombos in the quarterfinal, advancing after a convincing 6-3 6-4 victory. He next faced Serbian Filip Krajinovic in the semifinal, defeating the seventh seed 7-6(4) 6-2 to secure his spot in the final.

Awaiting Monfils in the final was a familiar foe, albeit not the one fans had anticipated. Unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil had upset third-seeded compatriot Denis Shapovalov in the second round. He then battled past second-seeded Belgian David Goffin in the semifinal, to set up a final matchup with Monfils.

This would be the sixth meeting between both men, as Monfils had an unblemished 5-0 record against Pospisil. Although the Canadian applied relentless pressure to the Frenchman’s serve, he was unable to capitalize on his four break points. With the support of the home crowd, Monfils triumphed 7-5 6-3 to capture his third Montpellier title.

This victory saw Monfils claim his ninth career ATP Tour trophy and improve to 19-4 at Montpellier. Furthermore, he was able to maintain his position as World No.9 on the ATP rankings.




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Author: Arthur Ajayi