Monfils overcomes Karlovic’s 28 aces, rallies to win 2016 Citi Open

Frenchman gets past Karlovic in three sets for Citi Open crown, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4

July 24, 2016, Citi Open, Washington, D.C. – If a successful tournament is defined by how many top seeds end up playing in later rounds, then the 2016 ATP World Tour 500 Series Citi Open should be considered one of the most successful ones this summer leading up to the U.S. Open.

Seven of the top eight seeded players competed in the men’s singles quarterfinals: John Isner, Gaël Monfils, Benoit Paire, Steve Johnson, Jack Sock, Alexander Zverev and Sam Querrey. Missing was the no. 3 seed Bernard Tomic, who lost to Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, the 13th seed. The competition remaining in the draw clearly translated to the large number of fans attending the tournament despite the high temperature and humidity, partially due to the event being held earlier than usual because of the Olympic Games.

The Sunday finals pit France’s Monfils against Karlovic. Going into the championship, Monfils had a 3-2 edge in their head-to-head matches. Their last meeting was in the 2011 Mutua Madrilena Masters in Madrid where Monfils won.

Karlovic’s presence in the final was not surprising. At the age of 37, he seems to be playing better and better. Standing at 6’ 10” with a powerful serve, once clocked at 156 mph, he had already compiled 80 aces before the finals. This together with his overbearing serve-and-volley style made him a formidable opponent.

On the other hand, the 29-year old Monfils relies on speed, agility, and a touch of guile and playfulness. His serves might not be as fast, but they are augmented with a variety of spins, slices, speeds, and angles, thereby forcing the returner to adjust from one serve to the next.

Because of the differences in their playing styles, this was a match that not only would be interesting to watch but result in unpredictable drama.  Indeed, true to form, Karlovic out-aced Monfils by 28 to 16. In the same vein, Monfils ended with seven double faults (to Karlovic’s four) with his more risky serves. Up a set and a break, Karlovic was unable to convert a championship point in second-set tiebreak and lost it instead. Monfils took advantage of this opening, breaking in the third game of the third set and capturing his first ATP 500 tournament, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Photos: 2016 Citi Open – men’s event
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

In the women’s event, Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium defeated America’s Lauren Davis for the Citi Open Crown, 6-4, 6-2.  It was Wickmayer’s fifth career WTA singles title.

Photos: 2016 Citi Open – women’s event
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

all Citi Open videos by Mai D. Chan / Meniscus Magazine