ATP Sofia Final Best Bet & Pick: Back Monfils Over Sinner to Extend Title Streak
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Gael Monfils.
Jannik Sinner vs. Gael Monfils
|Time||Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel|
In one of the best 250-level finals of the year, 20-year-old Jannik Sinner will take on 35-year-old Gael Monfils for a chance at glory in Sofia.
Sinner will be looking to win his second consecutive title in Bulgaria after narrowly winning the event in 2020. Sinner defeated Vasek Pospisil in a third-set tiebreaker to take home what was then his first tour-level title.
Monfils will be aiming to extend a different type of title streak on Sunday, as the Frenchman has won a tournament on the ATP Tour in each of the the past three years. He has had an up-and-down 2021 season, but a title in Sofia would make that streak a four-year one and would change the narrative of his year.
By simply reaching the final, Monfils already extended his 17-year streak of making an ATP final. That places him second on tour, between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Those aren’t bad names to be keeping you company.
Longest current active streaks for reaching at least one ATP final a year:
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 2, 2021
Both players come into the matchup in great form. Neither Sinner nor Monfils has dropped a set on the week, though the Italian has played one more match than Monfils. Both players received byes in the first round due to their seeding, but the elder competitor was fortunate in his first-round opponent, Ilya Ivashka, withdrawing before the match.
It was a stroke of luck that Monfils has taken full advantage of, as he dominated his two matches on the week. Against two in-form players, Gianluca Mager and Marcos Giron, Monfils conceded only two break points in four sets while generating 18 of his own. In the former matchup Monfils won 93% of the points behind his first serve and in the latter he won 82% of the points.
Better yet, Monfils has hit 19 aces against a lone double fault in his two matches. Those types of numbers are typically reserved for the best servers in the world, but Monfils has been able to capitalize with easy service holds that allow him to play low-stress tennis.
Though Sinner hasn’t dropped a set in Sofia, he’s conceded 16 break points in three matches and has had to break when his opponents were serving for the set multiple times. Nonetheless, he’s raised his level in big moments and held his nerve to advance against inferior opponents.
The duo’s last meeting came in thrilling circumstances when Sinner outlasted Monfils at the US Open. Sinner took the first two sets before dropping the next 2 from a break up in each, but he grabbed the fifth set to seal the win. It was an enjoyable match to watch, with drama, entertainment and an electric crowd to set the scene.
The crowd is on their feet!
We're headed to a fifth set between Monfils & Sinner. pic.twitter.com/GMdkVG5HIt
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2021
The slow hard-court surface in Sofia plays far different than the one the two played on in New York. While the US Open tends to play on the faster side of hard courts, Sofia’s center court is playing as slow as a hard court can.
Neither will mind that, but it could suit Monfils as he likes to play with flatter and deeper balls than Sinner, who creates significant spin with both groundstrokes.
This projects to be a really wide-open final, with both players in excellent form and having just met a month ago. Getting Monfils at this number offers excellent value as he plays his best tennis of the year and is as fresh as could be. Back him to extend his title streak in Sofia.
Pick: Gael Monfils +144