Juan Monaco took the 2012 Malaysian Open 2012 trophy after winning a three-set thriller against Julien Benneteau.
Seed number two Monaco succeeded Janko Tipsarevic on the Kuala Lumpur throne. There was practically nothing between the Argentine and his opponent throughout the three hour long final clash at Malaysian Open. The opening set was a real rollercoaster with both Monaco and seventh-seeded Benneteau achieving a re-break by 5-all. The 30-year-old Frenchman was serving to stay in the set at 5-6, but the game developed into a thrilling thirty rallies long marathon with the Argentine finally stealing the opener with the ninth set ball.
34th-ranked Benneteau got a hold of the Olympic doubles bronze medal in London, yet is still without an ATP singles title. He came out strong into the second set, but was unable to consolidate his first game break. He broke Monaco again in the fifth game, got under a lot of pressure in his follow-up service game, yet managed to get it 4-2 after saving two re-break points. Two comfortable holds later Benneteau was on level terms with World no. 11 Monaco.
The third set as well as the final itself was at a juncture when the Frenchman produced a break point at 2-all, but the crucial forehand shot landed wide and Monaco eventually rescued his service game. There was not much time for Benneteau to reflect on his wasted opportunity as six-time ATP winner took him by surprise in the subsequent game to move 4-2 up. The nervous deciding set will be remembered by unforced errors rather than well executed attacks. One of the exceptions was Monaco’s net volley which granted him the first championship point on his challenger’s serve at 5-2. Benneteau’s legs were looking tired, but his mind was set on the long- desired ATP trophy and the match ball was saved after Monaco fired a forehand into the net. Still, it was time for the Argentine’s service game. He had already taken a 40-0 lead, yet persistent Frenchman successfully challenged a service winner and crawled back to 30-15 moments later. Two new championship point were at Monaco’s disposal shortly after – he took advantage of the second one to conquer his fourth ATP tournament of 2012 with an exhausting 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory.