ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Thomas Muster easies past Henri Leconte to reach final

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ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Thomas Muster easies past Henri Leconte to reach final

On April 1, 1989, Thomas Muster experienced one of the worst days of his life, hit by a drunk driver in Miami just a couple of hours following the semi-final victory at the Masters 1000 event! With a nasty left knee injury, the Austrian had to go home and undergo surgery, staying away from the court until September and starting all over in 1990 with the title in Adelaide.

From the end of February, Thomas opted to play on clay instead of flying to Indian Wells and Miami, winning two Challengers and one ATP title in Cairo, Casablanca and Agadir to move closer to the place in the top-20 again.

In April, the Austrian didn't play that well in Estoril and Barcelona before entering the first Masters 1000 tournament on clay in Monte Carlo, producing five rock-solid victories to find himself in the title match. Marcelo Filippini, Martin Jaite, Jim Courier and Juan Aguilera took only 24 games against Muster in eight sets, propelling the Austrian into the semis where he ousted world no.

152 Henri Leconte 6-2, 6-3 to advance into the final. The struggling Frenchman had barely scored some ATP wins before Monte Carlo that year, finding form in front of the home fans and trying to become the first French champion since Pierre Darmon in 1963.

Nonetheless, Muster proved to be too strong in the semi-final clash, beating Leconte 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 12 minutes to advance into the final against Andrei Chesnokov. The Austrian had the upper hand all the time, controlling the pace on both serve and return and saving energy for the most crucial encounter of the week as Leconte couldn't stay on the court for longer.

Muster grabbed five breaks in total, giving serve away once and never feeling pressure from the other side of the court. Henri netted a forehand in the first game to suffer an instant break, creating three chances on the return in the next game but squandering them all to push Thomas 2-0 in front.

Leconte got his name on the scoreboard with a smash winner in the third game, earning more opportunities on the return in the next one but squandering them all to fall 3-1 down. An incredible lob winner delivered a hold at love for the Austrian in game six, maintaining his advantage and landing another lob winner in the next game to grab another break and open a 5-2 gap.

Serving for the set, Muster fended off a break chance with a volley winner at the net, wrapping up the first part of the encounter with a backhand winner for a 6-2. Just like in the opener, Leconte had to play from a break down right from the start, giving serve away in the first game and pushing Muster a set and a break up.

The Frenchman broke back in the fourth game to level the score at 2-2, only to spray a forehand mistake in the next one to find himself behind once again, trailing 4-2 after a solid forehand attack from Thomas in game six.

A forehand winner in the eighth game pushed Muster further in front, delivering another break a few minutes later when Henri sent a volley long to celebrate the victory and book the place in the final.