Gonzalez Wins Vina Del Mar in Walkover; Monaco Injured

Posted on February 3, 2008

Top seed and local Chilean favorite Fernando Gonzalez captured his third Vina Del Mar Movistar Open title Saturday night as he rallied to defeat unseeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 6-2 in the semifinals in two hours and 47 minutes.

The 27-year-old Chilean was declared champion after No. 3 seed Juan Monaco suffered a second degree left ankle sprain in the second set of the doubles final on Saturday. The injury prevented Monaco from playing in Sunday's final. Earlier in the day, Monaco advanced to the singles championship with a straight-sets win over Santiago Ventura.

"I'm happy to have won this tournament once again but a little sad for Juan (Monaco) who wasn't able to play the final. He is a great player and even better person. It's tough for him not be able to play tomorrow's final and probably miss Davis Cup next week," Gonzo said. "We are good friends and I hope he recovers fast from this injury."

Instead of the singles final on Sunday night the tournament will hold an exhibition between Ventura and Gonzalez.

"Itís very unfortunate that this happened to me in such a good moment of my career," said Monaco. "Iím sad that I wonít be able to play the final here in Vina del Mar and the Davis Cup tie against Great Britain next week. Iím hoping to make a come back at Buenos Aires."

It is the first time a singles final walkover has occurred on the ATP circuit since 2003 Basel when David Nalbandian withdrew due to a left wrist injury against countryman Guillermo Coria.

In Saturday's win over Cuevas, Gonzalez overcame an 18-minute power outage at 5-6 in the second set and saved two match points at 15-40 in the 12th game before coming back to win the tie-break and the final set. Gonzalez also trailed 3-5 in the tie-break. In the third set, Gonzalez broke in the second game and saved a break point in the seventh game to go up 5-2 before breaking Cuevas in the last game.

Gonzalez also won the Vina del Mar title in 2002 and 2004 and was runner-up in 2005. It is the Chilean's ninth career ATP title.

Cuevas was appearing in his second career ATP level tournament and he was trying to become the first Uruguayan to reach an ATP final since Marcelo Filippini won St. Poelten in 1997. The 22-year-old came in ranked No. 111 and he will break into the Top 100 for the first time in his career.

Monaco advanced to his first ATP final of the season Saturday as he defeated Spaniard Santiago Ventura 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes.

The 23-year-old Argentine took early control of the match with a break in the sixth game to go up 4-2 and he added another break two games later to close out the first set in 29 minutes. In the second set, both players held serve until the eighth game when Monaco broke for a 5-3 lead. He then served for the match but was broken at 15-40. Monaco then broke again to advance to his fifth career ATP final (3-1). (ATP Digital Services)