Melzer captures Winston-Salem crown
By his own admission, Jurgen Melzer was not a happy camper when he arrived at the Winston-Salem Open last weekend.
That’s what a mid-summer shoulder injury and early exits in his three previous tournaments can do to a player’s psyche.
But by the time the 32-year-old Austrian lefty flew to New York on the WSO’s private jet Saturday, he was definitely on cloud nine.
He captured the fifth ATP World Tour singles title of his career on Saturday afternoon when Gael Monfils retired early in the second set of what will go down as a 6-3, 2-1 ret. victory in the finals.
Melzer was a gracious winner and had kind words afterward for Monfils, who had a recurrence of a left hip injury that he initially suffered in a semifinal win over Alexandr Dolgopolov on Friday.
"Nobody wants to win a finals like that," Melzer said. "You want to be out there competing. But at the end of the day, you take the title. I felt like today I played well. I was looking forward to that match, that contest, because it’s a great matchup, it’s a defensive player against an offensive player, so you get to see great tennis if both have confidence like we do at the moment. So it’s a pity that it had to end like that."
Fact is, though, Melzer was dominant in the first set before Monfils started showing any signs of pain, and he was already up a break in the second set and headed for a straight-set win.
It was the continuation of the momentum he picked up during the tournament, after he had exited in the first round at Montreal and Cincinnati in the previous two weeks. Before that, he had a four-week layoff while nursing shoulder problems that surfaced when he advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Melzer, the No. 9 seed in the tournament and currently ranked No. 32, opened the tournament with a 7-5, 6-7 (4), 4-2 ret. win over Thiemo De Bakker, knocked off No. 5 seed Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-3 in the third round, beat No. 13 seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, and then beat No. 6 seed Sam Querrey in the semifinals.