Austria's Jurgen Melzer didn't want to spend a week in New York with all the craziness surrounding the start of the U.S. Open.
Instead, Melzer spent the week training and playing in the relative quiet of North Carolina -- and came away with a champion's trophy and a big jump up the world rankings.
Melzer won the Winston-Salem Open title on Saturday at the Wake Forest Tennis Center after Frenchman Gael Monfils retired because of an injury early in the second set.
Melzer earned his fifth career ATP tournament title and first this season. His ranking will improve five spots to No. 27 on Monday, when the U.S. Open begins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
"I'm playing great tennis at the moment," Melzer said. "A week ago, I wasn't a happy camper. I hadn't played well, I had been struggling. It's been the small things, but I'm getting my confidence back and playing well again. That's important, especially being a week before a Grand Slam. It's very important to get that confidence.
"I usually don't like to play the week before a slam, but this has been a perfect preparation week. Being in New York a week just gets you crazy."
The left-handed Melzer led 6-3, 2-1 after breaking Monfils' serve in the second set. During the changeover, Monfils received treatment on his left abdominal muscle and hip before opting to retire.
"I started to feel it yesterday, and today I woke up pretty sore," said Monfils, who hugged Melzer at courtside as word of his retirement was announced. "We worked on it before the match, and it wasn't pretty bad. It was sore, but I felt I could play and finish it. But I tried to serve 100 percent, and that was it."
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