Hypo Group: Monfils, Monaco in finals

Gael Monfils of France will play Juan Monaco of Argentina in the Hypo Group International final on Saturday.

updated: May 27, 2007 14:51 IST
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Poertschach, Austria:

Gael Monfils of France will play Juan Monaco of Argentina in the Hypo Group International final on Saturday.

In Friday's semifinals, Monfils upset fourth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 7-5 and Monaco defeated Luis Horna of Peru 6-4, 6-4.

Monfils will be aiming for his second title - after Sopot, Poland, in 2005 - in his fifth career final. While Monaco is also bidding for his second title after winning in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February.

Monfils and Monaco are 1-1. The Argentine won their last meeting in Estoril, Portugal, last month.

"This is probably the best tennis I have ever played," Monfils said after defeating Hewitt.

One break of the fourth-seeded Australian's serve was enough for Monfils to take the first set. But the 20-year-old Frenchman, who beat Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, needed to save three break points.

Hewitt knocked out

Hewitt rallied from 4-2 down to lead 5-4 in the second, but missed a set point as Monfils hit an ace.

"For me, that was the decisive point in the match. I knew I would not lose it from there," Monfils said.

The 75th-ranked Monfils broke Hewitt again on 5-5 and converted his third match point with an ace.

Hewitt converted only two of his eight break points, but is looking forward to the French Open.

"Monfils played the big points better than I did," Hewitt said. "I didn't get much of a chance on most of my break points.

"It has been a good week for me anyway. I beat three good clay-court players relatively easily, which gives me a lot of confidence for Paris next week."

The 47th-ranked Monaco, who beat defending champion Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals, dominated throughout against Horna, converting all four break points.

"It was very hard to play Luis because we know each other's game so well," said Monaco, who shares the same coach - Francisco Mastelli - with Horna.

"I played a lot on his backhand because I know he does not like that. So, I forced him to make mistakes."

Monaco broke once early in the first set and again at 4-4 in the second before saving two break points.