MEDIA NOTES 2011
Final Briefing - Washington D.C.
by Greg Sharko|
WASHINGTON SUNDAY PREVIEW – TOP SEED MONFILS TO MEET UNSEEDED STEPANEK IN ALL-EUROPEAN FINAL
The Legg Mason Tennis Classic final on Sunday is an all-European match-up as top seed and wild card Gael Monfils of France takes on unseeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. Monfils leads the head-to-heads 5-2 (4-1 on hard courts). It is only the third time in the past 20 years in Washington it’s an all-European final. It also happened in 2006 (Arnaud Clement d. Andy Murray) and 1992 (Petr Korda d. Henrik Holm).
Both players are appearing in their first ATP World Tour final of the season. Monfils saved one match point at 5-6 (with an ace) in the third set tie-break in his 64 36 76(6) rain-delayed semi-final victory over John Isner, ending at 1:16 a.m. Sunday. The top Frenchman is appearing in his first career ATP World Tour final on U.S. soil and 14th of his career (3-10). He is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the Legg Mason title since Arnaud Clement in 2006 (d. Andy Murray).
The 32-year-old Stepanek, who finished his 63 63 semi-final win over Donald Young at 4:33 p.m. Saturday, is the oldest player to reach an ATP World Tour title match in 2011. The last player from the Czech Republic to win the Legg Mason title was Petr Korda (d. Holm) in 1992. He’s trying to become the oldest winner here since Jimmy Connors (35) in 1988 (d. Gomez).
WHAT’S AT STAKE –
Winner: $264,000 and 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up: $122,000 and 300 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
FINALS HISTORY –
Monfils: Appearing in his 14th career ATP World Tour final……….He is 3-10 in finals (first in 2011)
Stepanek: Appearing in his 12th career ATP World Tour final …….…He is 4-7 in finals (first in 2011)
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –
(WC-1) Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Radek Stepanek (CZE) Monfils Leads 5-2
05 ATP Masters Series Cincinnati Hard R64 Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2
07 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo Clay R64 Radek Stepanek 6-0 2-0 ret
08 Vienna (Austria) Hard R16 Gael Monfils 6-4 6-3
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard SF Gael Monfils 6-4 5-7 6-4
10 Brisbane (Australia) Hard SF Radek Stepanek 6-2 6-1
10 Tokyo (Japan) Hard SF Gael Monfils 6-3 6-3
11 Hamburg (Germany) Clay R16 Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4
SF: San Jose (W/O vs Raonic); Halle (l Kohlschreiber); QF: Barcelona (l Nadal); Roland Garros (l Federer); Hamburg (l Simon)
YTD W-L: 25-9 (8-1 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 7
* Monfils, 24, is making his first Legg Mason final showing and first career ATP World Tour final on U.S. soil…On Thursday he won a pair of matches, defeating Ryan Sweeting 63 76(3) and then at night he took out Dmitry Tursunov 64 76(9)…On Friday he beat No. 6 Janko Tipsarevic 64 64 and in SF saved one match point at 5-6 in the third set tie-break to beat No. 11 seed John Isner 64 36 76(6)
* He is appearing in his 14th career ATP World Tour final (3-10 mark) and he’s trying to win his first outdoor hard court title …His last final came at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Paris in November 2010 (l. to Soderling)…His last title came in Montpellier, France last October (d. Ljubicic)
* This week he is No. 2 in aces (41), behind Isner’s 48 and No. 4 in first serve pts. won (81%) and No. 5 in service games won (91%, held 42 of 46 service games)
* The top Frenchman is appearing in his first ATP World Tour final this season and his previous best results were the semi-finals in San Jose in February when he withdrew (vs. Raonic) due to a left wrist injury (sidelined for two months) and in Halle on grass in June (l. to eventual champ Kohlschreiber)
* Has a 25-9 match record on the year (9-1 on hard)
* He is trying to join countryman Gilles Simon (winner in Sydney, Hamburg) as the only French winners on the ATP World Tour this year
* Parted ways with Aussie coach Roger Rasheed after Wimbledon (here with fitness coach Patrick Chamagne)
SF: Brisbane (l Soderling); Munich (l Davydenko); QF: Eastbourne (l Nishikori)
YTD W-L: 22-16 (12-7 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: November 27, 1978
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 54
* Stepanek, 32, is making his first final showing in four Legg Mason visits (6-3 mark)…His only previous match win here came in 2007 (d. Goldstein, l. to No. 5 Roddick in 3rd Rd.)…He also reached the doubles semi-finals (w/Haas) but withdrew due to exhaustion
* He is trying to become the first player from the Czech Republic to win the Legg Mason title since Petr Korda in 1992 (d. Henrik Holm) and the oldest champion here since Jimmy Connors (35) won it in 1988 (d. Gomez)
* Has served well this week, winning 92% of his service games (49 of 53 games held) and saving 19 of 23 break points (83%)…Also has won 20 of 54 return games (37%)
* The oldest player in the Top 100 is appearing in his first ATP World Tour final of the season…His previous best results were SFs in Brisbane (l. to Soderling) in first week of the year and Munich (l. to Davydenko) in May
* He is trying to become the oldest player to win an ATP World Tour title this season…The oldest winner is Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero (31), who won in Stuttgart last month
* Will move from No. 54 to around No. 40 thus far and to around No. 30 if he wins the title
* Has a 21-51 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents (1-4 in finals), losing his last eight since defeating No. 5 del Potro (ret.) in ’09 ATP Masters 1000 Paris QFs
* He has a 22-16 match record on the season (12-7 on hard courts) and with his win over No. 19 Verdasco on Friday, he has three Top 20 wins in 2011…In Brisbane, he defeated No. 16 Mardy Fish in the second round and in Eastbourne he knocked off No. 19 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round
DOUBLES FINAL PREVIEW – LLODRA-ZIMONJIC TO MEET LINDSTEDT-TECAU IN TITLE MATCH
Llodra and Zimonjic saved four match points en route to a 6-7(6), 7-6(7), 10-8 victory over Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the semi-finals while Lindstedt and Tecau advanced after Tommy Haas and Radek Stepanek withdrew.
The Brazilians led 6-3 in the second set tie-break before Llodra and Zimonjic clawed their way back to 6-6. Melo and Soares won the next point to set up their fourth match point, but the third seeds claimed the final three points to force a deciding set.
Melo and Soares also had a 6-3 lead in the match tie-break, but were unable to maintain their advantage, and the French-Serbian tandem closed out the win on their first match point, taking the hard-fought encounter in one hour and 54 minutes.
Llodra and Zimonjic are looking to win their first title together, having finished runner-up in May at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Bryan-Bryan) and Rotterdam (l. to Melzer-Petzschner). They’ve been a consistent pairing in 2011, reaching four semi-finals, including Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Miami and Rome.
Lindstedt and Tecau will contest their sixth final of the season (2-3), having claimed titles in Casablanca (d. Fleming-Zelenay) April and Bastad (d. Aspelin-Siljestrom) last month. They reached their second straight Wimbledon final (l. to Bryan-Bryan) and were also finalists at 's-Hertogenbosch (l. to Bracciali-Cermak) and Brisbane (l. to Dlouhy-Hanley).
Llodra is 18-18 in his career in ATP World Tour doubles finals and Zimonjic is 39-27 in finals. Lindstedt, who is 12-11 in career finals, is trying to capture his third Legg Mason title in four years (2008-09). Tecau is 9-6 in finals in his career.