Winston-Salem, NC, United States (4E Sports) – Jurgen Melzer of Austria captured the Winston-Salem Open trophy after Frenchman Gael Monfils retired with a left hip injury Saturday.
Melzer was leading Monfils, 6-3, 2-1 when the Frenchman sustained the injury, allowing the Austrian to end an 18-month title drought and bag his fifth ATP World Tour title.
The 32-year-old Melzer became the 14th player aged 30-over to win an ATP World Tour title this season. With the win, he is expected to rise to around No. 27 in the ATP Rankings.
“He’s such a great player, so I was trying to focus on my things that I’ve been doing well this week,” Melzer said of Monfils. “I was trying to be aggressive and go to the net as much as I could.”
“Nobody wants to win a final like that, you want to be out there competing, but at the end of the day you take the title,” added Melzer, who last won a title at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, where he defeated Milos Raonic.
Melzer improved to a 5-8 finals record after playing his second title match of the season. He finished runner-up at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in February.
Melzer will look to carry his good form into next week’s US Open, where he is due to face Russian Evgeny Donskoy in the first round. Should he win his first two matches, he could meet sixth seed and 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.
The 26-year-old Monfils dropped to a 4-15 finals record. It was his second runner-up showing of the season after losing the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur final to Albert Montanes in May.
The Frenchman is projected to return to the Top 40 of the ATP Rankings with his performance this week. The former World No. 7 has been steadily climbing back up this season, having dropped to No. 108 in February.
“I started to feel it yesterday,” explained Monfils. “I had a sharp pain. After about 50 minutes, I tried to serve at full speed, and that was it. I felt like something snapped a little bit and it was really painful. It was tough to continue.”
On the women’s side, unseeded Simona Halep bagged the New Haven Open at Yale title with a decisive 6-2, 6-2 win over defending champion Petra Kvitova.
The title was Halep’s fourth this year. She has a record of 29-5 over the last three months en route to three titles and a semifinal run at Rome.
Halep had beaten Daniela Hantuchova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Ekaterina Makarova and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the final, dropping just one set in five matches.