Gael Monfils beat qualifier Pavel Kotov in a thrilling final to win the Stockholm Open, an ATP 250 event, in Sweden on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Frenchman, who had previously won the event in 2011, became the oldest champion in tournament history with a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Russian Kotov in two hours 37 minutes. The 12-year gap between his two Stockholm titles is the biggest in ATP Tour’s history.
Also, only Roger Federer, Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez had won a title on the ATP Tour (since 1990) after turning 37.
World No. 140 Monfils clinched his 12th career title and first since Adelaide 1 last year. He is the lowest-ranked Tour-level champion since then World No. 152 Borna Coric won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati last year.
World No. 109 Kotov, who began his campaign from the qualifying round, broke Monfils twice in the first seven games to take a 5-2 lead in the opening set in his maiden Tour-level final. While Monfils did get one break back, Kotov managed to close the set 6-4.
Monfils saved three break points from 0-40 down in the 11th game of the second set. He converted his third set point in the tiebreaker to take the match to a deciding set.
In a repeat of the first set with roles reversed, Monfils broke Kotov twice to race to a 5-2 lead but failed to convert his first match point while serving for the title. However, the Frenchman successfully converted his second match point, this time on Kotov’s serve, to seal the victory.
With this title, Monfils has moved up to 89 in the live ATP Rankings.
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