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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday February 15, 2020


Refuse to lose.

That has been the mantra of Gael Monfils over the last two weeks as the Frenchman has now reeled off 16 consecutive sets since his first round match at Montpellier last week.

More: Auger-Aliassime Reaches First Hardcourt Final at Rotterdam

On Saturday Monfils was as stubborn as ever as he edged Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in two tight sets to keep alive his title defense in Rotterdam, 6-4 7-6(5).


Monfils has now won nine straight at the ABN Amro World Tennis Championships, the place that saw the flamboyant and freakishly talented shotmaker earn his first 500-level title when he stopped Stan Wawrinka in the final.

The 33-year-old World No.9, who earned his third career Open Sud de France title at Montpellier last week (d. Pospisil in final), had to show patience and tactical cunning on Saturday against the crafty Krajinovic. He landed 35 winners but his best moments came late in the match when he showed mental fortitude after failing to convert four match points in the tenth game of the second set.

Instead of hanging his head he kept pressing after an easy hold and surged late, taking the final three points of the match to defeat Krajinovic for the second time in as many weeks and the third time in three tries.

“It would be great [to defend the title]. It would be, for me, unbelievable,” Monfils said after the match. “It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me.”

Monfils will bid for his 10th ATP title on Sunday when he faces 19-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final.


The Canadian defeated Pablo Carreno Busta to reach his fourth ATP final earlier on Saturday. Auger-Aliassime has yet to claim an ATP title.

 

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