Monfils edges late-night Washington epic

Sun, 07 Aug 07:17:00 2011

Top seed Gael Monfils edged past home hope John Isner in a topsy-turvy rain-affected semi-final at the Washington Classic.

- Monfils sets up Isner tie

With both players frustrated by the weather, but determined to finish their clash on the Saturday, Monfils and Isner played for just shy of two and a half hours, only finishing at 1:16am local time after the Frenchman’s audacious lob had forced a match point, and closing out the contest 6-4 3-6 7-6 (6).

Monfils set up an all-European final in the process, with Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic having overcome Donald Young 6-3 6-3 in the earlier semi-final.

Completing the tie looked a distant dream as the rain came down, twice falling afresh as the players were finishing their warm-ups.

But when the clash began in earnest it was the world number seven who dictated, breaking midway through the opening set and closing it out.

Isner’s reply was instant, dropping just three points in the first three games of the second set and racing into a 3-0 advantage.

Monfils steadied his service games, but the 11th seed was untouchable on his own serve to level the scores.

Monfils spurned the only three break points in the deciding set, and a tie-break was an inevitable way to finish a contest dominated by serve.

It was the American who earned the first match point, but Monfils held his nerve to level with an ace, and took his first match point chance to reach the final.

32-year-old Stepanek’s experience seemed to count in his favour against Young, as the Czech booked his first ATP Tour final since early 2010.

I felt pretty confident heading into this match as I had already played three lefties in a row," said Stepanek.

"I was trying to be aggressive, by attacking his second serve, and just putting pressure on him. I think I was in control the whole time."


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account