• Tsonga, Monfils battle for Qatar Open title

    1/7/12 12:15 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Tsonga, Monfils battle for Qatar Open title An all-French showdown is in the cards for Saturday's final in Doha. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils will be squaring off for the title.

    No Rafael Nadal and no Roger Federer, but the Doha fans cannot be too disappointed. What they are left with is what has to be considered one of the most entertaining matchups in tennis.

    Flamboyant Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils will do battle in the final of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Saturday afternoon.

    Tsonga leads the head-to-head series 2-1, with all three previous meetings having come on hard courts. Monfils, though, avenged routine straight-set losses in 2008 and 2009 with a 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-4 victory two seasons ago in Montpellier. This will be their first clash in a title match.

    Nothing less than a high-quality thriller should be expected, because both men are playing some of their best tennis at the moment. Tsonga won two titles last fall and finished runner-up to Federer in Paris and at the World Tour Finals. The world No. 6 was supposed to face Federer again on Friday, but the Swiss withdrew due to a back injury. Tsonga has victories in Doha over Malek Jaziri, Flavio Cipolla, and Albert Ramos.

    Monfils also ended 2011 in fine form and he is looking even better so far this year. The No. 4 seed took out Rui Machado and Benjamin Becker before really heating up with convincing straight-set wins over Viktor Troicki and world No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

    Tsonga is a slight favorite on paper, but Monfils has been absolutely on fire this week. He is also playing unusually smart tennis and the relatively slow conditions in Doha will help him against Tsonga. Monfils in a tight three-setter is the pick.

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Should be super entertaining, as Rick suggests....but I like Tsonga in 3....wish I could be there to watch it!

scoot , 1/7/12 1:26 PM

Boring first few games but Tsonga catches fire and takes the first set. At the mo Monfils not playing nearly as well as yesterday...or Tsonga isn't letting him?
R they playing in fog, looks like!

deuce , 1/7/12 5:45 PM

Congrats Big Jo. He really stepped it up to the next level. As for Gael, he can take a great deal away from this tourney especially his crushing of Nadal.

Alien , 1/7/12 6:26 PM

I just knew Tsonga would win this one...he or any other top 4 player would never let Monfils play his game as Rafa did yesterday...It was Rafa's fault to let Monfils fire the winners all over the place, Tsonga was smarter than that...Great win for Tsonga! Another title which adds much to Tsonga's confidence for the AO...IMO he should go far in the AO...

natashao , 1/7/12 6:27 PM

no idea what Monfils' problem is in finals...of course, Tsonga was pretty good today.

RickyDimon , 1/7/12 6:32 PM

Yes, Ricky comms said 4/15 which is horrible. Tsonga looked impressive though. Has a lot of confidence carrying over from last year.

deuce , 1/7/12 6:40 PM

Tsonga has more varieties in his game than Monfils. He's more skilful at the net than Monfils. To beat a on fire Monfils, one has to play with more varieties; can't beat him with long rallies as he's so quick and can get to so many balls.

Rafa with the right tactics can deal with Monfils; he can add in some varieties to his game and not just rally with Monfils. I think Monfils looked more determined in the semifinal than the final. I'm interested to see how far can Monfils progress at the AO. Tsonga and Berdych may go far at the AO judging by how why they played. The Czechs (Berdych and Kvitova) won the Hopman Cup and Berdych was playing very well in the final against Gasquet.

luckystar , 1/8/12 12:59 AM

I feel that Rafa always brings out the best in other players and Monfils really played well against him. Could not believe the change in him on court against Tsonga - the first few games were like powder puff tennis :) I like Tsonga's game and he deserved to win. Congrats.

schatz , 1/8/12 12:57 PM

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