2020 in Review: Gael Monfils extends the French dominance in Montpellier

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2020 in Review: Gael Monfils extends the French dominance in Montpellier

The Open Sud de France in Montpellier started in 2010, keeping the trophy for the home stars in almost every edition. Tomas Berdych and Alexander Zverev stole a couple of titles from the French rivals, but there was no one to stop Gael Monfils en route to his third Montpellier title in February.

World no. 9 lost the opening set against Adrian Mannarino in the second round, raising his level after that, securing the next eight sets and lifting the trophy. In the title match, Gael ousted Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 37 minutes, celebrating the ninth ATP title.

Becoming the tenth active player with at least 30 ATP finals, the home star drew the energy from crowd support, winning the inaugural Montpellier event ten years ago and still standing strong at 33. It was a wonderful week for Vasek Pospisil, reaching the first ATP final since Washington 2014.

The Canadian took another big step on the recovery trail after a nasty back injury that kept him off the court for more than eight months at the end of 2018 and the first half of 2019. Pospisil defeated David Goffin from the verge of losing on the previous night but didn't have enough energy left for Monfils.

The Frenchman fended off all four break chances and produced one break in each set to seal the deal and celebrate the crown, the first since Rotterdam a year ago. Serving at 70%, Monfils played better on the second serve, which earned the victory for him, standing stronger in the decisive moments and bringing the triumph home in straight sets.

Gael Monfils claimed the third Montpellier crown over Vasek Pospisil.

Gael made the most significant difference in the unforced errors area, staying on ten and counting to 30 from Vasek to cross the finish line first. Nothing could separate two great servers in the first nine games, with two deuces on Monfils' serve at 3-3 and 4-4, something that Vasek couldn't convert into real chances.

The Canadian fended off a set point in the tenth game with an ace down the T line before the Frenchman found the way to seal the set at 6-5 with a forehand down the line winner that brought him the desired break. The Frenchman had to dig deep in the second set's opening games, repelling four break chances to remain on the positive side, landing a perfect backhand down the line winner in the eighth game to move 5-3 up and serving for the victory.

A service winner pushed the Frenchman over the top, starting a massive celebration in front of the partisan crowd and earning enough points to catch Matteo Berrettini in the eighth place of the ATP ranking list, both standing on 2860 points.