Aegon International | Novak Djokovic sets up final date with Gael Monfils

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Aegon International | Novak Djokovic sets up final date with Gael Monfils

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SportsCafe Desk

07/01/2017

Top seed Novak Djokovic showed signs of coming back to form as he reached the final of the Aegon International with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniil Medvedev, where he will face Gael Monfils. Frenchman Monfils beat his compatriot Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4) to make it to Sunday's final.

Playing his first Wimbledon warm-up event since 2010, Djokovic started the game by exchanging a pair of early breaks with Medvedev. But while serving at 3-4 down, not only did the Serbian save three break points, he also broke the Russian in the next game when Medvedev hit a backhand into the net. The former World No.1 then held his serve at 5-4 to pocket the first set 6-4. The Serbian opened the second set with a break and never looked back after that as he sealed a spot in the final in one hour and 22 minutes after winning the second set with the same scoreline.

Djokovic will now play the final against the second seed Gael Monfils, who downed French compatriot Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4) in the other semi-final. Seventh seed Gasquet saved two match points at 5-4 in the second set, before Monfils injured his knee after slipping on the baseline. However, the 31-year-old recovered really well to take the set into a tie-break, before missing a third match point.

But even that couldn't deter Monfils as he earned a break at 1-1 in the third set with a drop shot winner and eventually went up 5-3. However, he missed a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 and Gasquet broke back with a backhand winner up the line as the match went to a final-set tie-break. In the tie-break, Monfils flicked a forehand passing shot winner to take a 5-3 lead and a fourth match point came to him at 6-4 which he finally made good use of as he hit his fastest serve of the day to take the match in two hours and 31 minutes.

Headling into the final on Sunday, Djokovic has a 13-0 head-to-head record over Monfils, including a four-set win in the US Open semifinals last year and now the duo will meet each other for the first time on grass. Speaking ahead of the final, Djokovic said, “Gaël, he's such a dynamic player and unpredictable,” as reported by Tennis now. “He's got an overall game. He's got a full package if you want to call it that way."

Finally, given that he has faced Monfils 13 times already, the former World No.1, is well aware of the Frenchman's strengths and weaknesses. “He's so athletic. He has a big, big serve. Of course, moves around the court very well. Plays well at the net, as well. Returns. If things come together for him and if he really wants to, you know, perform well that day, he can be really tough. I mean, he can beat anyone, especially with that serve. I mean, if he has a high percentage of first serve, and I have seen today a little bit of the match, current match, and, you know, he serves 130-plus miles regularly, first serve, that's huge. So, you know, it depends a lot on how he feels, how he serves,” he concluded.

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