Monfils Wins 1st 2011 Title at Stockholm, Keeps Masters Hope Alive
World No. 10 Gael Monfils defeated Jarkko Nieminen 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 on Sunday to win the title at the If Stockholm Open, his first title of the year and a boost for his chances to claim one of the last spots at the year-end ATP Masters event.
“My concentration was the key for me today. I just believed I could win this match,” Monfils said. “Jarkko was playing good when he was in front. Some spots in the match were high-level tennis and he was moving well. At the end I think he got a bit fatigued. I played him three weeks ago [in Bangkok] but I was more impressed with him today.”
It was Monfil’s fourth career title, improving to 4-11 in career finals. The 30-year-old Nieminen fell to 1-10 in career finals, losing his third career Stockholm final.
Tipsarevic Keeps Serb Dominance of Kremlin Cup Alive
Serbians continued their mastery of the Kremlin Cup in Mowcow on Sunday when Janko Tipsarevic defeated last year’s champion and countryman Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2 for his second title of the year.
“It was really tough,” Tipsarevic said in a rare post-match joint press conference with his friend Troicki. “We were both tight. You could cut the tension with a knife. It was like a nightmare to play against your friend.”
Tipsarevic’s result kept him alive in the race for a spot at the year-end championships. “This was the first time we had an all-Serbian final, ATP or WTA, so it was a bit strange at the beginning for both of us,” Troicki said. “Janko deserved to win, he was the better player today. We both played pretty good but he was more aggressive.” Tipsarevic improved to 2-4 in career finals, and Troicki dropped to 1-4 in championship opportunities.
Azarenka Wins 3rd Title of 2011 at WTA Luxembourg
Victoria Azarenka won her third title of 2011 on Sunday, defeating first-time WTA finalist Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.
The No. 1 seed failed to drop a set throughout the tournament. “Monica has a unique game, a really different style,” Azarenka said. “You really have to dig deep and be patient against her, but you also have to be aggressive. If you stand there and just dig the balls back, she can beat you. So I just tried to stay aggressive and fight for every point and I’m happy how it turned out.”
Azarenka next heads to the WTA year-end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.
Cibulkova Wins Elusive 1st Title at WTA Moscow
Dominika Cibulkova won her first title in her fourth career WTA final on Sunday at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, defeating Kaia Kanepi 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-5. Cibulkova had lost to Kanepi in both their previous meetings.
“This is the best feeling I’ve ever had. It’s the best day for me,” Cibulkova said. “I’ve been waiting for my first WTA title for so long. It’s also special because I had so many tough moments, against [Vera] Zvonareva in the quarterfinals and against Kaia today. It didn’t come easily.”
After the players evened the third set at 3-3, five breaks of serve ensued before Cibulkova was able to cross the finish. Kanepi fell to 1-3 in career finals.
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