AAP Tennis

Holder Monfils reaches ATP Rotterdam final

By AAP Newswire

Defending champion Gael Monfils has overcame Serb Filip Krajinovic in the Rotterdam Open semi-finals to set up a title clash with Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Third-seeded Frenchman Monfils, looking to make it two ATP titles in as many weeks after his triumph in Montpellier, fired 14 aces and 35 winners to overcome Krajinovic 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

Monfils squandered four match points at 5-4 in the second set but the 33-year-old held his nerve in the tiebreak and will look to lift the 10th title of his career in Sunday's final.

If he prevails, he will become the first man since Robin Soderling in 2011 to win back-to-back titles at Rotterdam.

"It would be great (to win this title again). It would be, for me, unbelievable," Monfils said.

"It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me."

Earlier on Saturday, Auger-Aliassime stormed into his fourth ATP final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta to keep alive hopes of a maiden ATP crown.

"The first set was really tight with both of us serving well," 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime said.

"I was serving the best I've ever served in that first set and then played a solid tiebreak."

After edging the first set, Auger-Aliassime got the decisive break in the third game of the next set and held serve at 4-3 to quell a late comeback attempt by Carreno Busta.

The world No.21, who saved all four break points that he faced, closed out the match with his 16th ace.

"In the second set, things got interesting with that long (third) game," Auger-Aliassime said.

"I was thinking, 'If this goes my way, it might be tough for him.' So, I really pushed to try to get through.

"It wasn't easy. I came up clutch again, so obviously I'm happy with myself."