The Paris Masters 1000 tournament concluded with an intense final that showcased great tennis, a fiercely competitive match and great excitement and support from the crowd. The Palais Omnisports was filled with 14,000 fans cheering on Frenchman Gael Monfils in a match that went the distance with only a final set tie-break separating Monfils and Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic won 6-2, 5-7, 7-6, 1000 points and 450,000 Euros as the winner and confirmed his status as the form player on the ATP Tour leading into the end of year championships. Monfils won 600 points and 212,500 Euros as the runner-up but fell short of qualifying for the ATP Tour Finals.
The No.3 seed from Serbia won the deciding tie-break by 7 points to 3 to win his first Masters 1000 title in 2009 after being runner-up in 4 Masters 1000 finals this year. On the indoor green Gerflor hard courts Monfils stepped up when the French crowd began chanting his name when he was down 2-6 0-3 and it was Djokovic well and truly on top.
In the semi-finals Djokovic outplayed No.2 seed Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-3 whilst Monfils took 2 hours and 42 minutes to edge past No.13 seed Radek Stepanek 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Nadal and Stepanek won 360 points and 105,500 Euros each.
The fate of the 7 players battling it out for the final 2 spots in the year end championships was decided after the quarter final results. Each of the quarter finalists won 180 ATP ranking points and 55,000 Euros.
In the top half of the draw the quarter finals saw No.15 seed Monfils defeat No.12 seed Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Monfils is strongest when playing in France, he said after this match that “When I play in front of my family and the French crowd, I feel immediately a lot better”. Monfils reached his 1st Masters 1000 final here in Paris and his best 2 performances in Grand Slams are making the semi-finals and quarter finals at the French Open.
No.13 seed Radek Stepanek moved through when No.5 seed Juan Martin del Potro retired when he was 0-4 down in the 1st set due to an abdominal strain. Del Potro won 6-4 in the final set against Marat Safin who was playing his final tournament before retiring. Safin was the only wild card entrant to win a round.
The seeds performed especially well with 14 of the 16 seeds winning through to the last 16 in Paris. However, No.1 seed Roger Federer was the victim of the major upset in this event in his first match. The World No.1 was defeated by Frenchman Julien Benneteau 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
The best result for a qualifier was making the round of 16, which was achieved by 31 year old local Arnaud Clement who was runner-up in the 2001 Australian Open men’s singles. The other 3 French qualifiers were Thierry Ascione, David Guez and Vincent Millot with Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Alejandro Falla from Columbia also qualifying.
In the bottom half Djokovic won 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 against Sweden’s Robin Soderling (9) whilst Nadal defeated No.8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-5 7-5. These results moved Nikolay Davydenko in as the 7th qualifier for the ATP Word Tour Finals and Fernando Verdasco in as the number 8 leaving Soderling as No.9 and the first alternate.
Pictured above is Monfils who is preparing to play his forehand drive. The 28 year old Frenchman electrified the crowds during the BNP Paribas Masters 1000 tournament.
For more information on this hard court tournament see an earlier post on this tennis website by clicking here -> ATP Major Tournament: Paris Masters.
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