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La Monf won the UTS players battle against The Rocket in Toronto

French veteran Gael “La Monf’ Monfils turned back the clock to defeat Chris “The Rocket” Eubanks in a battle of UTS players at the National Bank Open in Toronto on Monday evening.

The Frenchman had chances to win the match as he served for the win at 5-3 in the second set and also had two match points at 5-4, 15-40 before Eubanks, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, fought back to take the match into a decider.

Monfils dominated the third set with some vintage tennis to close  the 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-1 win over Eubanks, which moves him into the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 series event against world No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

This was Monfils’ first win at the ATP Masters level since he reached the third round of the same tournament when it was held in Montreal last year.

Understandably, the 36-year-old Frenchman was happy with his hard-fought win. “It’s always tough because I have some off moments, long off moment, and try to get back the rhythm with those guys, young guys. But I feel better physically. And, obviously, everybody can see, you know, it’s been week after week, better and better in the States. So I was happy to see myself quite fast on the court after two hours’ match. A little bit wiser. I still need to improve a lot, but I feel like I can battle with those guys. So I think I still got it a little bit.”

Monfils has one win over Tsitsipas in three career meetings, but this will be the first meeting in over four years.