Davis Cup - Monfils routs Tipsarevic in Davis Cup opener
Fri, 03 Dec 15:45:00 2010
Gael Monfils gave France the best possible start to the Davis Cup final, winning his opening match 6-1 7-6(4) 6-0 against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic in Belgrade.
The French number one did his best to rattle Tipsarevic on the eve of Friday's encounter - suggesting that the 26-year-old would "be very nervous coming out first in front of the Serbian crowd".
Despite Tipsarevic's response that it was Monfils who should be nervous in front of the raucous Belgrade crowd, the Serb looked utterly uncomfortable in his opening service game - committing two quick-fire double faults and handing Monfils an opening break on a silver platter.
Twenty-four-year-old Monfils, searching for his first ever singles victory away from home in the Davis Cup, pounced on Tipsarevic's early nerves, hammering an ace past the Serb with his very first serve and securing a comfortable hold to go 2-0 up without breaking a sweat.
Tipsarevic promptly surrendered a second break of the match in only his third service game, finding himself out-hit by a typically aggressive Monfils, and repeatedly whipping groundstrokes into the net as he struggled to find any sort of rhythm from the back of the court.
A third and final break duly followed, allowing the Frenchman - ranked 37 places higher than Tipsarevic in the world list at number 12 - to take the opening set by a crushing 6-1 scoreline, and with Tipsarevic's game in complete disarray.
With the partisan Belgrade crowd relentlessly cheering him on, Tipsarevic returned for the second set in a determined mood.
The Serb's forehand began to tick over nicely - dropping sweetly into the baseline corner where, before, it landed a yard too long - allowing him to drag the energetic Monfils from side to side and open up space to land the killer blow.
The result was emphatic, as Tipsarevic cruised through his first two service games to love, with absolutely no response from the floundering Monfils.
However, despite earning two break points against the Frenchman's serve, Tipsarevic couldn't find a way to convert either - with Monfils digging himself out of trouble with some spectacular forehands.
With neither player capable of taking the match by the horns, they soon found themselves facing a tiebreak to settle the crucial second set.
Tipsarevic continued to play measured, confident tennis, but once again his composure deserted him at the critical moment, and a couple of sloppy forehands surrendered the set to the unflagging Monfils.
Much to the chagrin of the Serbian crowd, the tie-break defeat proved fatal to Tipsarevic's hopes of forcing his way back into the match, as the Serbian number three - who hadn't played competitive tennis for a month coming into the Davis Cup final - put up little fight in a one-sided third set, handing Monfils three straight breaks to wrap up the match.
The French, however, will be utterly content with the manner of their opening win as they seek a 10th triumph in the tournament.
Forget on doubles