Gael Monfils will take on Martin Klizan for the Rotterdam title on Sunday, after both men reached the finals in very different victories in the semifinals on Saturday. Monfils cruised, while Klizan was forced to save match points for the second consecutive match.
Monfils Eases Past Kohlschreiber
Despite being the only seed left standing, fifth seeded Gael Monfils still had a difficult task at hand on Saturday as he faced Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semifinals. Monfils made it look easy, dispatching the former world number 16 in a routine 6-3, 6-2 victory. The men had polar opposite serving days. Monfils was on form, while Kohlschreiber struggled. The German only got 49 percent of his first service points in and struggled on his second serve, only winning 33 percent of those points. Monfils only lost six points on his first serve in the match.
There was very little between the two men in the opening set and both men had three break point opportunities. Monfils managed to save all three break points against his own serve and converted the third of his three chances to grab the lone break. That would be enough to claim the set. The Frenchman upped his game in the second, breaking Kohlschreiber twice and not giving up a single break point opportunity. Monfils would wrap up the victory in an hour and 16 minutes.
Klizan Survives Again to Reach Final
In his quarterfinal match, Martin Klizan saved five break points to secure a victory. He was required to save three more in his semifinal against qualifier Nicolas Mahut. He would eventually claim a 6-7(3), 7-6(7), 6-2 victory in two hours and 45 minutes. Both men were strong on their first serve, with Mahut winning 80 percent of the points and Klizan winning 82 percent. Mahut out-aced Klizan 16 to nine. However, they were both below 50 percent on second serve.
Both men dominated on serve in the opening set and there were no breaks of serve. Klizan had the lone opportunity, but could not convert. The set required a tiebreak, which was won by Mahut. The Frenchman seemed well on his way to victory, when grabbed the break in the second set and led 5-3. With Klizan serving to stay in the match, Mahut had match point, but Klizan saved it. Mahut then served for the match, but Klizan managed to break the serve-and-volleying Frenchman. The set required a tiebreak and Mahut had two more match points. Again, the Slovakian was up to the challenge. He would roar back to take the tiebreak and force a decider.
It appeared that momentum had swung completely to Klizan and Mahut was out of luck in that final set, as the Slovakian raced through the decider. He broke Mahut twice in the final set, saving both break points against his own serve to clinch the epic comeback victory.
Klizan takes a perfect record in ATP finals into the final match on Sunday with Monfils. Monfils won the pair’s lone match which came almost a decade ago in Washington, D.C. in 2007.