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TENNIS

Melzer beats ailing Monfils for Winston-Salem crown

Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) - Jurgen Melzer captured the Winston-Salem Open title when Gael Monfils was forced to retire in the second set of Saturday's final because of an abdominal injury.

Melzer was ahead, 6-3, 2-1, when Monfils reluctantly called it quits, giving the Austrian his fifth career title and first in an outdoor hardcourt event. He hadn't won since claiming the Memphis indoor tournament in February 2012.

The ninth-seeded Melzer entered this week with a four-match losing streak. He had lost the opener in each of his last three events after a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon.

"I'm very happy to have won the title. Losing (early) in Montreal and Cincinnati, I was a little upset. I'm very happy to have played well here," said Melzer during the trophy ceremony.

After battling past American Sam Querrey in the semifinals, Melzer wasted little time Saturday in grabbing control against Monfils. He opened a quick 3-0 lead with a break of serve and didn't face a break point in claiming the opening set in 33 minutes.

Monfils appeared to hurt himself while serving early in the second set and Melzer earned a break for a 2-1 lead. The Frenchman received treatment during the changeover after the third game and decided he was unable to continue.

The oft-injured Monfils fell to 4-15 lifetime in finals, including 0-2 this year. He also lost to Albert Montanes in the Nice final before the French Open in May.

Monfils will hope to be ready for the start of the U.S. Open next week. He is scheduled to face Adrian Ungur in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

"Hopefully I will have a speedy recovery in order to be ready for next week," said Monfils on the court after the match.

Melzer, who has never been past the fourth round in 11 previous trips to the U.S. Open, is slated to play Evgeny Donskoy in the first round next week.

Saturday's victory improved Melzer to 5-8 all-time in finals, including 1-1 this year, and gave him a first prize of $76,900. He lost to Marin Cilic in the Zagreb final back in February.