Gasquet and Monfils reach Open Sud final
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Top-seeded Richard Gasquet beat third-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) on Saturday to set up an all-French final in the Open Sud de France against Gael Monfils.
The fifth-seeded Monfils earlier beat sixth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
Monfils improved to 4-0 against Nieminen. Monfils dropped his serve in the second set, before breaking Nieminen twice in the deciding set.
Janowicz had 16 aces compared to eight for Gasquet, and both players dropped serve once.
Defending champion Gasquet is chasing his 11th career title. Monfils won the tournament four years ago and will aim on Sunday for his fifth career title, but his first since winning indoors at Stockholm three years ago. Three of his titles were on indoor hard-courts.
The final will be the 10th meeting between the 27-year-olds, with Monfils leading 5-4.
“Gael is an incredible player, he does everything well,” Gasquet said. “It’s always a bit weird to play a friend in a final, but I am looking forward to it. I think it’s the best final we could have here in Montpellier and I hope it will be a good match.”
Gasquet, ranked ninth, is France’s No. 1 player ahead of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Monfils has slipped to 30th after persistent knee injuries.
“Richard has so much talent (and) he is not (in the) top 10 for nothing. He has improved a lot physically and mentally lately, which makes him a difficult player to beat,” Monfils said. “He’s going to be the favorite. He is the top seed and the defending champion. I am really looking forward to playing my buddy in the final, it makes it more fun.”