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Gasquet, Monfils Set Up All-French Final In Montpellier

Montpellier, France

Monfils© AFP/Getty ImagesGael Monfils reaches his 21st ATP World Tour final (4-16 overall).

Defending champion Richard Gasquet will play 2010 titlist Gael Monfils in the Open Sud de France final on Sunday. 

Gasquet, who beat Monfils in the Montpellier second round last year, will be looking to improve on his 4-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against his fellow Frenchman. The duo is tied at 2-2 in meetings on French soil (also 2004-05, ’09 Metz). 

“Gael is an incredible player, he does everything and his ranking doesn’t reflect his level of play at all," said Gasquet about Monfils' 30th position in the Emirates ATP Rankings. "To me, he should be ranked Top 10-15 with the way he is playing. 

"It’s always a bit weird to play a friend in a final, but I am looking forward to it. I think it’s the best final we could have here in Montpellier and I hope it will be a nice match.”

Looking ahead to the final, Monfils said, “Richard does everything well, he has so much talent [and] he is not [in the] Top 10 for nothing. He has improved a lot physically and mentally lately, which makes him a difficult player to beat. Tomorrow, he’s going to be the favourite. He is the top seed and the defending champion. I am really looking forward to playing my buddy in the final, it makes it more fun.”

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Top seed Gasquet, who has not dropped a set this week at his debut tournament with new coach Sergi Bruguera, defeated third seed Jerzy Janowicz 7-6(6), 7-6(4) in one hour and 42 minutes on Saturday.

Janowicz hit 16 aces, but Gasquet won 80 per cent of his first service points to advance to his 21st ATP World Tour final (10-10 overall).

“It was a big match for me and an important win,” said Gasquet. “It’s the best player I defeated so far and I am satisfied in the way I did it today. It’s the first week with my coach Sergi Bruguera, so wanted to do well here. I am very pleased to be in the final here again, especially coming from Davis Cup on a different surface. It is always draining and I am happy about how quickly I was able to adapt.”

Monfils will attempt to capture his fifth ATP World Tour title and his second at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor tennis tournament.

Fifth seed Monfils maintained his perfect FedEx ATP Head2Head record against sixth seed Jarkko Nieminen with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 semi-final win in 79 minutes at the Park&Suites Arena in Montpellier.

“I’ve been playing better and better this week and also feel my movement has improved match after match,” said Monfils. “When I move well, that’s when it becomes interesting for me, as I can try more things and go more for my shots.”

Monfils beat Ivan Ljubicic for the 2010 Montpellier title and was runner-up to Tomas Berdych in 2012. Last month, he finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, which represented his 20th ATP World Tour final (4-16 overall).

Davydenko/Istomin Into Doubles Final
Nikolay Davydenko and Denis Istomin advanced to the doubles final after a 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 victory over second seeds Rameez Junaid and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. The duo will now challenge French pair Marc Gicquel and Nicolas Mahut on Sunday.

Davydenko has a 1-2 record in ATP World Tour doubles finals, with his lone title coming at the 2004 Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow (w/Andreev). Istomin is also appearing in his fourth doubles title match (1-2 overall). He lifted the Moscow trophy with Mikhail Elgin last year.

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