Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Score (via WinstonSalemOpen.com)
|(9) Jurgen Melzer def. (15) Gael Monfils
||6-3, 2-1 (ret.)
After his surprising upset over Alexandr Dolgopolov on Friday, there were high hopes for Frenchman Gael Monfils in the Winston-Salem Open final against Austrian Jurgen Melzer. Monfils struggled out of the gate, though, as he dropped the first set 3-6, and he was ultimately forced to retire while trailing 1-2 in the second.
According to commentator Nick Lester, a hip injury forced Monfils to retire from the match, and his status for next week's U.S. Open is now in question.
While disappointment on Monfils' end may be the biggest takeaway for most, Melzer's victory shouldn't overshadowed. This marks the fifth title of Melzer's career, and his first of the season. Melzer is currently ranked No. 33 in the world, and while he enters the U.S. Open as a major underdog, this win should give him plenty of confidence, and that makes him a dangerous landmine for the top players.
Melzer had been 0-4 in four previous meetings with Monfils, and he was dominating play before Monfils' retirement. Although the injury may have had something to do with it, Monfils earned the win. He broke Monfils' serve twice, and he was extremely efficient on his own serve as well. Melzer won an impressive 70 percent of his second-serve points, and he never faced a break point over the course of the match.
There is no question that Melzer is happy about his triumph, but Monfils has to be equally disappointed. Injuries have derailed his career in a major way over the past couple years, but he made some noise in the French Open as he defeated both Tomas Berdych and Ernests Gulbis. He seemed to be finding his groove again in Winston-Salem, however, another setback could be standing in his way.
Melzer is seeded No. 29 at the U.S. Open, and he is in fine position to win at least two matches before facing Juan Martin del Potro. Although slaying the former U.S. Open champion will be no easy task, Melzer may very well have the tools necessary to do it as evidenced by his big Winston-Salem win.
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