Rublev to play Monfils in Doha Open final
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Andrey Rublev of Russia saved a match point to reach his second career ATP Tour final with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2) win over Guido Pella of Argentina at the Qatar Open.
The 39th-ranked Rublev has had trouble with his serve throughout the tournament. He posted 11 double faults in Friday’s match, and 33 overall in the four matches he’s played this week.
The 20-year-old Russian served only two aces against Pella, but the second ace saved him from defeat when facing a match point at 4-5, ad-out, in the third set.
“It (double faults) happens sometimes but, in general, in the important moments I serve well,” Rublev said. “Maybe I wasn’t focused at times.”
Rublev will play Gael Monfils of France in his quest to win a second career title. As a lucky loser, Rublev won his first career title, in his first career final, at the Umag, Croatia tournament last year.
The 46th-ranked Monfils reached the final without hitting a ball in the semifinals when top-seeded Dominic Thiem withdrew from the tournament because of illness.
“Due to some health conditions I have to cancel my start today,” Thiem wrote on Facebook. “I am in bed with fever and there is almost no chance of a recovery until tonight.
“Now I am focusing on Melbourne and being fit and prepared for the first Grand Slam of the year.”
The fifth-ranked Thiem, the only remaining seeded player in the draw, did not drop a set en route to the semifinals.
Thiem showed signs of illness when he coughed through numerous answers during his quarterfinal post-match press conference on Thursday night.
Monfils is playing in his first tournament since a right knee injury forced him to retire during his U.S. Open third-round match in September.
The 31-year-old Monfils has appeared in three previous Qatar Open finals, but has yet to win the title.
“I hope this one will be better than the other ones,” Monfils said. “I’m just pleased the way that the year start and I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”