Monte Carlo Masters: Top 4 most memorable moments
Ahead of the clay court season, join Tennishead as we take a look back at unlikely title wins, mammoth matches and some of the most extraordinary moments from the Monte Carlo Masters.
Thomas Muster’s magic match
In 1995, the Austrian claimed his second Monte Carlo title and extended his unbeaten run on clay to 22 matches after defeating Boris Becker in the final with a miraculous win.
In the fourth set tie break, Muster was staring defeat in the face. He was two sets to one down and 6-4 down in the tie break, facing two match points. A double fault and a forehand into the net meant Muster saved the match points. He then went on to win the following two points in a row to draw the players level at 2-sets all.
Remarkably, Muster wrapped up the final set in just 20 minutes with Becker not winning a single game. The win was all the more impressive as the former French Open Champion had experienced fatigue, dehydration and a lack of blood sugar in his semi-final victory over Andrea Gaudenzi the day before.
The 100th Edition: World number one vs Defending Champion
The 100th edition of the Monte Carlo Masters saw two greats of the game battle it out to become the 2006 Champion in Monaco. Grand Slam legend and World number one at the time Roger Federer was looking to claim his first ever title in Monte Carlo, whereas Rafael Nadal was looking for his first ever defense of an ATP tour title.
In the final Nadal had to fight hard to extend his clay-court winning streak to 42 matches, beating Federer 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(5) in three hours and 49 minutes.
Despite being 3-0 down in the fourth set tie-break, Nadal was able to pull off the comeback and seal the 14th title of his career. The Spaniard would also beat Federer in the 2007 and 2008 finals in straight sets for his third and his fourth successive Monte Carlo crowns.
Djokovic wins first Monte Carlo Masters title
In 2013, Nadal entered the final in Monaco on an 8 year unbeaten run at the Monte Carlo Masters. The Spaniard was a clear favourite to add another title in Monte Carlo to his collection, yet Djokovic had other plans.
He took a convincing 5-0 lead in first set before wrapping it up 6-2. The second set was a tighter affair which lead to a tie-break, however the Serbian dismantled the Spaniard winning 7-1.
The victory denied Nadal a ninth straight title at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and also ended his 46 match winning streak which dated back to a third-round loss to Guillermo Coria on his debut in 2003.
Djokovic has since won the Monte Carlos Masters for a second time in 2015, beating Czech Tomas Berdych in three sets.
Formidable Fognini’s title run
In 2019, the former World number 9 Fabio Fognini became the first Italian singles winner in Monte Carlo since Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968. Fognini’s road to lifting the title was certainly not straight forward.
In the first round, Fognini was facing an early exit as he went one set and a break down against the Russian Andrey Rublev. Despite being 4-1 down, Fognini charged back taking the second set 7-5. He then took the final set 6-4 to record an unlikely victory.
A round of 32 walkover against French veteran Giles Simon and a straight sets victory against third seed Alexander Zverev followed. However, in the quarter-finals Fognini faced a similar predicament to his first round match. He was a set and 2-0 down against Croatia’s Borna Coric staring at a straight sets loss. However, the Italian rattled off six of the next seven games to take the second set. He sealed yet another unlikely victory with two breaks of serve in the final set to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In the semi-finals, Fognini faced the 11-time Champion Rafael Nadal. He beat the Spaniard convincingly in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to set up a final versus Serbia’s Dušan Lajović. He beat Lajović in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to become the first Italian to capture a Masters 1000 title.
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