Monfils beats Wawrinka to win Rotterdam Open

France's Gael Monfils celebrates winning the Rotterdam Open with the trophy alongside runner-up Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka Sunday. — Reuters

ROTTERDAM — Gael Monfils defeated good friend Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 Sunday to win his eighth career title at the Rotterdam Open.

Monfils, the runner-up three years ago, held off Wawrinka's second-set surge to ease through the decider.

Wawrinka, the 2015 champion in the Dutch port city who is continuing an 18-month comeback from double knee surgery, was playing in his first final since Roland Garros in June 2017.

It was the first championship match in 11 years at Rotterdam to feature two unseeded players.

Monfils, 32, showed no hard evidence of the left wrist injury which has bothered him all week and forced him onto a regime of pain-killers.

The world No. 33 triumphed in one and three-quarter hours with four service breaks against three-time major winner Wawrinka as he claimed his first title since Doha last year.

The Frenchman took the opening set with two breaks of Wawrinka, but the 33-year-old Swiss immediately returned the favor with a 6-1 second set.

In the third, Monfils broke for 2-1, taking control of his opponent's mighty backhand.

The Frenchman moved to 5-2 and saved a break point a game later as he closed out victory. — AFP