Monfils wins Montpellier
Frenchman Gael Monfils overwhelmed compatriot and defending champion Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 in the Montpellier International final on Sunday to claim his first title in more than two years. Monfils relied on his powerful serve to dominate world No. 9 Gasquet and clinch the fifth ATP title of his career, the second at the Montpellier hard-court indoor event where he won in 2010. “This is unbelievable for me,” Monfils told reporters. “I had some back problems at the beginning of the week and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play, so to now have the trophy is pretty crazy.” The 30th-ranked Frenchman, who has suffered from a series of injuries in the past two years, looks back to his best and now has a 12-2 win-loss record so far this season. His two defeats have come at the hand of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who beat him in the Doha Open final and the third round of the Australian Open last month.
Schalke blank Hannover
Schalke 04 defeated Hannover 96 by 2-0 to maintain their perfect start to the year and consolidate their hold on fourth in the Bundesliga on Sunday. Jefferson Farfan opened the scoring in the 39th and instigated Schalke’s second five minutes later, which Max Meyer stroked home. Schalke opened a four-point gap over Borussia Moenchengladbach to consolidate the last Champions League qualification place, while Hannover remain 10th after Tayfun Korkut’s first defeat as coach. Earlier on Sunday, Augsburg continued their fine form with a 4-1 win at VfB Stuttgart, condemning the home side to their fifth consecutive loss. The visitors opened the scoring against the run of play in the 35th minute through Arkadiusz Milik and built on the lead when Halil Altintop sprung the offside trap for Andre Hahn to finish with aplomb in the 44th. Hahn scored his second of the game three minutes later and Konstantin Rausch pulled one back for Stuttgart in the 62nd, but Tobias Werner ended any hopes of an unlikely comeback two minutes later. Augsburg stretched their unbeaten run to eight league games and climbed to eighth, while Stuttgart are just two points off the relegation zone after their seventh defeat in eight games.
Cilic stuns Haas in Zagreb
Croatia’s Marin Cilic overcame problems with his serve to win the Zagreb Indoors tournament on Sunday, defeating top-seeded Tommy Haas from Germany 6-3, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Cilic gained his fourth title in Zagreb and became the third Croatian overall to win at least 10 career titles. Cilic also lifted his career record in Zagreb to 22-4, winning 20 of his past 21 matches at the event. Cilic — champion in 2009, 2010 and last year — struggled with his first serve, but played some great returns with a solid baseline performance. The 35-year-old Haas broke in the first game, but then lost five of the next six. Haas also wasted a break point for a 4-2 lead in the second set, allowing Cilic to step up the pressure and gain a 5-3 lead. Haas saved a match point, but Cilic made sure he used the second opportunity.
Fognini cruises past Mayer
Top-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Royal Guard Open clay-court tournament. Fognini had few problems with the unseeded Mayer, winning in 1 hour, 23 minutes. It was Fognini’s third ATP Tour title, all of which have been on clay. Mayer was playing in his first ATP final.