Monfils works hard to reach Vienna final
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France's Gael Monfils battled through a three-hour semi-final against the unseeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber to win a slot in the Vienna Open final where he will meet one of Philipp Petzschner or Feliciano Lopez.
Gael Monfils claimed a thrilling 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7/2) victory over unseeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber on Saturday to reach the final of the Austrian Open.
In a dramatic battle that lasted just nine minutes short of three hours, the eighth seeded Frenchman almost gave the match away at the end, breaking to lead the final set 6-5 but then failing to win three match points before dominating the tiebreak.
The match was finely balanced from beginning to end, with both players running the other all over the court.
Although there were plenty of break point opportunities in the opening set, it was Monfils who earned the only break when a netted backhand gave him a 4-3 lead. He then went on to serve out the set with two consecutive aces.
In contrast to the first set, in which Monfils earned five break points and Kohlschreiber four, both players easily held serve in the second set.
But Kohlschreiber struck when it mattered most, playing more aggressively in the last game to earn the only break. In the final set, Monfils thought he had made the vital breakthrough at 1-1 when he won a marathon game that went to deuce 10 times.
Kohlschreiber failed to convert four game points, before Monfils broke on his seventh break point and leapt to his chair in delight.
His joy was premature, however, as a forehand error allowed Kohlschreiber to level at 3-3. Games then went with serve until Kohlschreiber netted a backhand to give Monfils a break to lead 6-5.
But Monfils still had to battle to close out the match and reach his first final of the season, letting a 40-0 lead fall away, dropping his serve, but then racing through the tiebreak.
Monfils will next play either German qualifier Philipp Petzschner or Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who were playing later on Saturday.
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