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Credits Reuters: Gale Monfils in Qatar Open 2018

Credits: Reuters

The spectators were impressed by the power play showcased by Gael Monfils into winning the Qatar Open Championship.

Just a year ago, Monfils, the French tennis player ranked number six in the world. He aimed to win the men’s end of season championships in London for the first time in 2017, but unfortunately could not make it up throughout 2017 due to varied aliments. He had to withdraw from six tournaments which caused a sudden drop in his ranking from six to forty-six.

Monfils was invited to the main draw, backed by his previous performances in, which he reached three finals. The potential was there but was recognized only when he gained ground against the highly talented Russian, Andrey Rublev, 6-2 6-3 in just over one hour.

It was quite evident that the field in Qatar Open 2018 lacked excitement with the absence of Djokovic, a major defender. The number one seeding has been handed to the world number five, Dominic Thiem, which may have been a key reason for pushing new tennis stars. The game could possibly have taken another turn provided Djokovic’s presence. However, the occurred chain of events proved favorable for Monfils who eventually bagged the title.

Monfils who arrived in Qatar after a four-month break due to a knee injury voiced “I had a very good year in 2016. I finished sixth and then couldn’t really defend my chances in 2017,” he said. “I had a long rest in order to come back strong in 2018.”

The break did not affect his performance which would have been a common speculation instead it turned out to have worked positively for the 31-year-old Monfils who mesmerized spectators with his extraordinary performance of awesome defense and rising offence. His counterpart in finals, Rublev, too acknowledged after the defeat that Monfils “was much fresher, moving much better than me, missing less,”.

The win at Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018 certainly enhanced his morale as the player exclaimed after winning, “I like this tournament so much, you know,” he said after his win. “I always come back. And I was very close and finally get it. So, I’m just very happy and very proud.”

His fans now look forward to his performance at in the Australian Open in Melbourne next week. His big win at Qatar ExxonMobil has improved his ratings but he will still have no advantage of enjoying a seeding in Melbourne, as opposed to his counterpart in the finals, Rublev, who is expected to rise to at least 33 and be among the top 32 seeds at the first Grand Slam event of the season.

Monfils might be a little disheartened with the fact that he would be playing without being seeded in Melbourne, which as usual is an advantage in the Grand Slams.

Hopes for fans are high as they now look forward to seeing their favorite players strike again at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

All photos by Ray Toh

It’s been a soggy week of play for the international athletes in town for the Qatar Total Open.

Despite two days of canceled matches due to rain, the tournament reaches the quarterfinals stage today.

Among the players who have advanced this far are World No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany, World No. 5 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and in a surprise upset, Shuai Zhang of China.

The 28-year-old defeated World No.7 and fifth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Crowds were pretty thin at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex this week due to the rain.

But they will likely pick up heading into the weekend and finals, which are on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Do you plan to go? Thoughts?

Ray Toh

Qatar Total Open 2016

Some of the best tennis players in the world are in town this week to compete in the 2017 Qatar Total Open, which opens on Monday.

The 15th edition of the tournament runs from Feb. 13 to 18 and will see several top-seeded athletes compete for some $776,000 in prize money.

That includes former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

Czech’s Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza of Spain are also among 32 singles players facing off in the six-day event, according to the Qatar Tennis Federation.

However, Carla Suárez Navarro, the 2016 champion, has withdrawn due to a shoulder injury. World No.8 Svetlana Kuznetsova has also pulled out of the tournament.

Tickets

It remains unclear how the weather will affect play this week, as forecasters are warning of high winds and rainy conditions.

But tickets are still on sale for those who wish to check out the tournament, which is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

Ray Toh

Qatar Total Open 2016

They start at QR25 and go up to QR350 per person.

Who’s going? Thoughts?