Djokovic Beats Monfils For Eastbourne Title
Novak Djokovic won his second ATP World Tour title of the season on Saturday, beating Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4 in 76 minutes at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
Djokovic captures his first title since January, when he beat World No. 1 Andy Murray to kick off the 2017 ATP World Tour season at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. The title is a positive step for the Serbian, who has since fallen to No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and was a late wild-card entry into the ATP World Tour 250 in Eastbourne.
Djokovic now heads to Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, on a four-match winning streak and full of confidence as he prepares to compete for the title at the All England Club. Djokovic is a three-time champion at the grass-court Grand Slam.
“It was a great week. Obviously it feels right, looking back on the decision-making process and whether or not I should come here, now it feels like it was a good decision. But also a few days ago it felt right because I had a lot of time spent on the court, some good match play. But most of all, I felt very welcomed here by the people. On and off the court I was greeted, I was respected. So, for me, it was just a phenomenal experience that I will definitely take with me to Wimbledon,” Djokovic said.
If Djokovic goes on to win his fourth Wimbledon crown, he will become the first player to win an ATP World Tour title and a Grand Slam title in consecutive weeks since Patrick Rafter swept Long Island and the US Open in 1998. Djokovic will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €113,330 in prize money.
Monfils was trying to beat Djokovic for the first time since a Futures event on clay in Bergamo, Italy, in April 2004. Coming into Saturday, the Frenchman was 0-13 against the Serbian in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, and Djokovic controlled the match from the start, breaking in the opening game and to close out the first set.
Although Monfils brought pace and swung aggressively throughout the match, Djokovic was more clutch in the biggest moments, again breaking Monfils to finish the match. The Belgrade native saved all three break points and won 76 per cent of his first-serve points. Monfils will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €59,690 in prize money.
“I tried my best today. I think he played very good, returned very good. Obviously in the first set he served very good. It was very tough to handle his first serve. I had some opportunities, and he had a bit of luck and managed it very good. I think I played a tough match,” Monfils said.