Final previews and predictions: Monfils vs. Rublev, Anderson vs. Simon

Gael Monfils and Andrey Rublev are set for a surprising Doha final on Saturday after taking much different paths through the semis. In Pune, meanwhile, 2017 U.S. Open runner-up is going up against unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Doha: (WC) Gael Monfils vs. Andrey Rublev

The Qatar ExxonMobil Open is one of the few 250-point tournaments on tour that make a habit of featuring the very top players of the sport in their title matches, but it will be an all-unseeded affair when Monfils and Rublev collide for the first time in their careers on Saturday. Monfils, who had not played since last summer’s U.S. Open due to injury, has benefited from a favorable draw in which the two seeds in his quarter–Tomas Berdych and Filip Krajinovic–lost in the opening round. The 46th-ranked Frenchman beat Paolo Lorenzi, Jan-Lennard Struff, and Peter Gojowycz before getting a semifinal walkover from an ill Dominic Thiem.

Rublev, a 2017 U.S. Open quarterfinalist, has clinched Australian Open seeding at just 20 years old thanks to his run to the Doha final. The 39th-ranked Russian has advanced with victories over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (via retirement), Fernando Verdasco (three sets), Borna Coric (6-3, 7-5), and Guido Pella (in a third-set tiebreaker). Although the semifinal against Pella lasted two hours and 25 minutes, Rublev should gain confidence amidst the fatigue based on the way he saved a match point with an ace and survived an extremely high-quality thriller. The youngster won his only previous ATP final last season in Umag, whereas Monfils is a shockingly bad 6-20 lifetime in finals.

Pick: Rublev in 3

Pune: Gilles Simon vs. (2) Kevin Anderson

Anderson and Simon will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they battle for the Tata Open title on Saturday. All three of their previous meetings have gone Anderson’s way; 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 at the 2013 Indian Wells Masters, 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 two years later on the grass courts of Queen’s Club, and 6-2, 7-6(8) this past fall in Tokyo.

Although a fourth showdown seemed unlikely when they landed on opposite sides of the Pune draw, Simon has made an especially surprising run to the final. The Frenchman plunged to No. 89 in the world last season but has stormed out of the 2018 gates like gangbusters with victories this week over Tennys Sandgren, defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut, Ricardo Ojeda Lara, and No. 1 seed Marin Cilic, dropping just one set to Cilic along the way. Anderson, the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up and recent winner of the six-man Abu Dhabi event, has advanced by beating Thiago Monteiro, Mikhail Kukushkin, and Benoit Paire. The second-seeded South African is extremely confident right now and his power game has always been just a little bit too much for Simon’s defense.

Pick: Anderson in 3

12 Comments on Final previews and predictions: Monfils vs. Rublev, Anderson vs. Simon

  1. I like Simon to win the Pune Finale! Why? Read on and on, on and on,on and on,….ha,ha,ha…

    The past 3 H2H wins of the big S. African Bird is of no use as the current form of Simon rules!lol

    Anderson has just beaten a clay Courter (Thiago Monteiro) and 2 eccentric and highly unpredictable but talented fellas (Mikhail Kukushkin, and Benoit Paire) which does not give him much credit! Simon is no eccentric fella but plays a no-nonsense tight (a tight length that gives his opponents no freedom to hit many winners) and serious game. Not very nice to watch but very effective 2 win! He is so serious (in winning the title here at Pune) that you won’t even see any smile on his face (OK you might just 1 smile and not any more! Might see a couple of Bicep pumping when he hits tons of winners!lol)!lol

    On the other hand, Simon has taken out the World No. 20 & Defending Champ, RBA and the World No.6, the Chilled Cilic!lol

    As Simon has won 3 of the 4 matches here at Pune in 2 sets wheres the Big S. African Bird with its clipped (ever since his US Open SF run ended!lol) wings(lol) is struggling to win all the matches in 3 sets! This shows that Simon is in better form than the the clipped Big S. African Bird!lol

    As 3 of the 4 H2H matches have gone to 3 sets, i expect a 3 set or atleast a 2 very tight set win for Simon in the Pune Finale. Going big with the over here and a small amount on the Guileful Gille Simon not Simon Cowell, the joker judge!lol

  2. Holy shit I wasn’t aware of the level of Rublev vs Pella. I can’t imagine watching that match in Doha live. The level was unreal. I couldn’t even believe the stuff I was seeing in the highlights LOL. Pella and Rublev were playing out of their skin!!

  3. So happy for Monfils, finally winning that gorgeous trophy after four finals! He gets a big fat pay check too for a 250 event – how many 250 event pays $200k for the winner? Doha is one 250 event where all the big four have won there, not bad for the event.

    Happy for Simon too, first title after three years! Feel a bit sad for Anderson, he’s not having many titles has he?

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