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Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Mercurial Monfils takes on Next Gen star Rublev in ATP Doha final

Leye Aduloju 6 Jan 2018
  • Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev is live from Doha from 6:00pm local time/ 3:00pm GMT
  • Monfils and Rublev meet for the first time on Saturday
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Doha at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Gael Monfils. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Fit-again Frenchman, Gael Monfils and Next Gen ATP star, Andrey Rublev go head-to-head in the Qatar Open final today.

Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev ATP Qatar Open tennis is live from Doha on Saturday, 6 January from 6:00pm local time/ 3:00pm GMT
Watch and bet on tennis live from Doha at Unibet > live streaming > tennis



After his injury problems in 2017, it’s good to see Monfils back again, as he looks to rebuild a ranking that peaked at sixth at the end of a brilliant 2016, but cascaded out of the top 40 following his problems in the outgone year. Will the new year bring better tidings for Monfils? The start has certainly been positive, with the Frenchman moving into the Doha final, and he’ll look to make a title-winning return to the tour when he takes on the talented Russian youngster, Andrey Rublev. 

Wildcard, Monfils is playing his first tournament since retiring from the US Open, when he quit his third-round meeting with David Goffin because of a knee injury. That was pretty much the story of his season- during which he put together an ordinary 20-14 record, reflecting just how little he played last year. By comparison, he was 43-17 in 2016. There were very few bright spots for Monfils in 2017, but he did reach the final in Eastbourne, losing to Novak Djokovic, made the fourth round of the Australian Open (lost to Rafael Nadal), and contested a couple of quarter finals in Marseille and Dubai. However, those were crumbs compared to what he did in 2016, during which he won the Washington title, made finals in Monte Carlo and Rotterdam, and had a couple of decent runs at Grand Slam level, most notably at the US Open, where he made the semi-finals.

It remains to be seen whether Monfils can get back to that level- he needs a sustained period of fitness first of all- but he has certainly begun his year on a good note, advancing to the Qatar Open finals for the fourth time in his career. The 31-year-old had earlier made (and lost) finals in 2006, 2012 and 2014. He has certainly had his fitness tested out early in his comeback, coming through three-setters against Paolo Lorenzi and Jan-Lennard Struff in the opening two rounds.  The Frenchman took out Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets in the quarter finals, before benefiting from the withdrawal of Dominic Thiem from their scheduled semi-final. Thiem, who himself had been in decent form, pulled out due to fever. 

"I'm very sad for Dominic and I hope he will have a speedy recovery," Monfils said.

"I'm happy to be in the final for the fourth time here. I hope this one will be better than the other ones. I'm just pleased [with] the way the year has started and I'll be ready for tomorrow."

He’ll need to be ready, as he confronts fearless Next Gen ATP star, Rublev in the final. 

Andrey Rublev. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Rublev’s ascent to the title match is another big step in his development, as he looks to emulate fellow Next Gen Star, Alexander Zverev in making the step up into the big league. A title in the opening week of the season in Doha could well serve as the launchpad into a more rapid rise in 2017. As at June last year, Rublev was still ranked outside the top 100, but he made his big jump in the second half of the year, with his key achievements being winning his first career title in Umag as a lucky loser, and reaching the quarter finals of the US Open, following wins over Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin. Like quite a few of his Next Gen contemporaries, he fell way in the last few tournaments of the season, but he did sign out on a decent note by reaching the final of the inaugural Next Gen Finals. 

Rublev eased into the second round when Cedric-Marcel Stebe retired after dropping the opening set 6-1, but he encountered sterner resistance in the second round, needing three sets to take down Spanish veteran, Fernando Verdasco. Rublev outgunned fellow Next Gen star Borna Coric in the quarter finals before securing a battling 6-2 4-6 7-6 victory over Guido Pella in Friday’s last four tie, thus advancing into his second career final.

"It feels amazing. I have no words to describe this match," Rublev said. "I think it was such an amazing match for both of us. We made amazing rallies, such unreal rallies. I'm really happy that I won. I can say only good job to Pella for how he played. The way he played, it's unreal. I think we made a great battle, I think people enjoyed... I think everybody's happy."

Monfils and Rublev meet for the first time on Saturday, and this should be a very interesting one. Rublev does not exactly hold back, particularly on the forehand wing, but he runs into one of the most athletic and formidable defenders in the sport, when he is not carrying an injury. That quarter final walkover over Thiem will come in very handy for his physical condition on Saturday! 
Rublev will throw everything at Monfils, but the Frenchman relishes that approach, and assuming he is not carrying any major injuries, expect him to hunt down balls and carve out improbable winners. That said, Monfils cannot afford to sit back too much, else he would be pinned back by Rublev, who is playing well enough to hit through his defenses if he is given license to dictate. 

Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev is live from Doha on Saturday, 6 January from 6:00pm local time/ 3:00pm GMT. Watch and bet on the match live at Unibet > live streaming > Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev


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Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Mercurial Monfils takes on Next Gen star Rublev in ATP Doha final

Fit-again Frenchman, Gael Monfils and Next Gen ATP star, Andrey Rublev go head-to-head in the Qatar Open final today.

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