Gael Monfils sealed his first title of 2018 with a 6-2, 6-3 dismantling of Andrey Rublev in the final of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, winning the crown in Doha on his fourth attempt.
The Frenchman had fallen short in 2006 to Roger Federer, 2012 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 2014 to Rafael Nadal, but he left little doubt as to who would come out on top in this championship match.
Stellar Monfils grabs opening set
Rublev flashed his immense skill with a searing forehand winner to hold for 1-1. In the fourth game, an untimely double-fault gave Monfils a break point and his elite defensive skills earned him the break and a 3-1 lead.
With the Russian struggling to find answers to Monfils' consistent play, it was only a matter of time before the world number 41 would break again and in the eighth game, he did just that, wrapping up the opening set in just 23 minutes.
Frenchman wraps up title in commanding fashion
Rublev was handed chances in the beginning of the second set, but costly errors saved Monfils as he experienced a brief lull and as he did in the opening set, surrendered his serve early on with a wild crosscourt forehand.
The world number 39 finally managed a break point, but again couldn't find the answers needed as the Frenchman mustered a seven-minute hold. Stepping up to take the initiative, Monfils powered a forehand down the line to answer the charge made by Rublev.
Finally, after being so close before, Monfils held two championship points and when Rublev fired a forehand long, the Frenchman had his long sought after title in Doha to kick off his 2018 in perfect fashion.
Monfils was playing on a high level throughout the championship match, firing 29 winners to just 10 unforced errors. In dominating the rallies of five shots or less (33-17), the Frenchman neutralized Rublev's greatest weapon: finishing points quickly with his power.
For the Russian, he is still learning and every big match will afford him the experience needed to be a champion going forward. It's encouraging he was on even terms with Monfils on rallies of 5-15 shots (20-20), showing that the discipline needed is starting to evolve into his game.