Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday February 23, 2024

Jakub Mensik

Jakub Mensik rallied past Gael Monfils to become the youngest ATP finalist since 2021, and the youngest ever at Doha.

Photo Source: TTV

18-year-old Jakub Mensik was bidding to become Doha’s youngest finalist ever. Gael Monfils, 37, was bidding to become the oldest.

Tennis Express

Youth versus experience – something had to give.

In the end it was Mensik who came through, the Czech teen edging the former champion in three tight sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, to become the fifth-youngest finalist on the ATP Tour since 2000.

Mensik has notched wins over fifth-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, two-time champion Andy Murray, top-seeded Andrey Rublev and now 2018 champion Monfils to reach his first ATP final in his third tour-level appearance.

“Amazing,” he said on court after his triumph. “Hopefully not the last one.”

With a varied all-court game and plenty of power to pack, Mensik surely will have many more to come. He used all his weapons to perfection on Friday, playing what he called one of the best matches of his career, and eventually broke down the legendary Frenchman with an impressive display of fortitude and poise down the stretch.

After a trade of breaks in the final set it was Mensik who stood tall under pressure, breaking for 5-3, then serving out the victory, converting his second match point to close affairs in one hour and 52 minutes.

“Incredible week so far,” he said. “Today with Gael, he played unbelievable, it’s tough to play against him, especially his good movement. For me every point I had to play my best game. I have to say that this performance was one of my best in my entire life – I am so glad that I reached this level in the semis, and hopefully tomorrow I will play like this, that will be so beautiful, it’s an amazing feeling to have my first ATP final, I am just speechless.”

Mensik will face Karen Khachanov, who defeated Alexei Popyrin 7-6(12), 6-2, for the title.

He is the first player born in or after 2005 to reach an ATP final and one of just two Czech teenagers to reach an ATP final, along with Tomas Berdych.

The teen had a great moment with Monfils at the net after the match, as he told Monfils that he was one of the players he grew up watching and being inspired by.

Monfils was bidding to stretch his run of consecutive seasons with an ATP final to 20, which would have tied him with Roger Federer on the all-time list.

The Frenchman was riding a seven-match winning streak in Doha, as he was making his first trip to Qatar since winning the title in 2018.

Monfils remains the youngest player to ever win a match at Doha, something he achieved in 2005, the year Mensik was born.

“I told him that when I was young I watched him a lot on the television,” Mensik said. “He’s one of the biggest showmen on court, these days, and a great guy, hopefully in the future we will meet once again, because sometimes the rallies were so much fun with him and he’s such a good guy.”

Monfils, who reached the final in Doha as a 19-year-old, was the youngest finalist in Doha history – though supplanted by Mensik in that category the 37-year-old is now the oldest semifinalist in Doha history.

Mensik is now up to 86 in the ATP live rankings from 116.

Khachanov, ranked 17, will bid for his sixth ATP title on Saturday in Doha.


Latest News