ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s rebuilt knee couldn’t quite carry him to the title in Rotterdam on Sunday.
Wawrinka lost his first final since his comeback a year ago from left knee surgeries, succumbing 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to Gael Monfils of France at the ABN AMRO World Tournament.
It was the Frenchman’s eighth career title.
“I tried a couple of times here. I lost the final in 2016,” Monfils told Dutch national broadcaster NOS courtside. He said it was special to win a tournament that his idol, Arthur Ashe, also won. Ashe won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam in 1975 and ’76.
Unseeded Wawrinka reached the final by beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori in three sets on Saturday.
But the Swiss finally ran out of steam in the final set as Monfils stepped up his game.
“In the third set I was a little bit more aggressive and I go a bit more for my shots, I served bigger and that helped me a lot,” Monfils said.
Wawrinka was going for his 17th career title and second in Rotterdam, after winning in 2015.
It was his first final since the 2017 French Open, where he previously met Monfils in the fourth round.
Monfils also needed three sets to overcome fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, but outlasted Wawrinka in a match that took 1 hour, 44 minutes.
After they shared the first two sets, Monfils was more consistent than Wawrinka in the decisive third.
Already trailing 4-2, Wawrinka hit three unforced errors to lose the seventh game and allow Monfils to serve out the match.