Frenchman, Gael Monfils seeks a 10th consecutive win when he faces Hungarian, Marton Fucsovics in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday.
Monfils vs Fucsovics is live from Dubai on Monday, 24 February from 8:30pm local time/ 4:30pm GMT
It’s been a superb start to 2020 for Monfils, who is now 12-2 for the season, and enters Dubai on the back of consecutive tour titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam. The Frenchman opened his season at the ATP Cup, where he went 1-1 in his singles matches before reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual finalist, Dominic Thiem.
He has been perfect since then, winning nine straight matches to claim titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam; his ninth and tenth career titles. His Rotterdam success also marked the first time he’d been able to successfully defend a title.
The 33-year-old, who has stated his desire to break into the top-five for the first time this season, is now up to No. 9 in the world. Monfils spent most of last season outside the top ten, but he crept in towards the end of the year, finishing at No. 10 in the world. His Rotterdam triumph was his only title last season, but he was fairly consistent throughout the year, reaching semi-finals in Sofia, Dubai, Montreal and Vienna; and notable quarter finals at the US Open, Indian Wells and the Paris Masters.
Monfils had his best Dubai performance last year, when he made the semi-finals (lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas)- can he better than result this week? The in-form Frenchman starts his tournament against Marton Fucsovics on Monday.
Fucsovics is looking to snap a three-match losing streak, and register his first win since the Australian Open.
The 28-year-old had made a bright start to the year, reaching the quarter finals in Doha and the fourth round of the Australian Open, but he’s cooled a bit after that, suffering successive first round exits in Rotterdam (lost to Roberto Bautista-Agut) and Marseille (lost to Alexander Bublik).
The Hungarian is competing in the Dubai main draw for the second straight season, and will hope to recreate the form he showed at the tournament 12 months ago, when he defeated Damir Dzumhur and Jan-Lennard Struff before losing to Roger Federer in two tight sets in the quarter finals.
That Dubai run came on the back of a very strong set of results for Fucsovics, who had made the final in Sofia (lost to Daniil Medvedev), and the quarter finals in Rotterdam (lost to Kei Nishikori) in the preceding weeks. He was ranked at a career-high No. 31 after Dubai, but he could not sustain the momentum, as he made just two more quarter finals for the rest of the season (Munich and Stuttgart) and was down at 70th by the end of the year.
His early season form lifted him to 53rd in the world in February, but he has since slipped to 73rd, ahead of his Dubai campaign. He’s got quarter final points to defend, but he faces a difficult first round against Monfils on Monday.
Fucsovics pushed Monfils to three sets in their only previous meeting in Madrid last year, but with Monfils looking sharp and super focused, Fucsovics will struggle to get that close to the Frenchman in Dubai. The match-up doesn’t exactly favour Fucsovics- he’s a very steady player, generates decent pace, but doesn’t quite have the weaponry to hit through Monfils.
Monfils has won his last 18 sets- that number looks set to rise to 20 on Monday.