"It's amazing, amazing to hold the trophy again in only my fourth tournament back, after three years (without a title)," Monaco said. "It's almost like a dream come true for it to happen so fast. The hard work really paid off."
The 32-year-old Monaco, also the 2012 winner at River Oaks, held off a surging Sock in the third set after taking a 4-1 lead. Sock won the next four games, but suffered the decisive break in the 11th game when, with his left thigh apparently cramping under the cloudy, humid conditions, missed an underhanded serve.
Early in the match, Monaco also received attention from the trainer for an apparent back issue.
Sock, the 23-year-old American seeded fourth in defense of his lone ATP World Tour title, said after the match that he'd begun feeling poorly with flu-like symptoms Saturday night. He had won 17 consecutive sets in the event dating to his first-round match last year.
"I felt great all week. I'm not exactly sure what happened with my body," Sock said. "Last night, I didn't feel great. I was sweating in a very air-conditioned room, so maybe (I'm) possibly coming down with something. But that doesn't take away from (Monaco's) battle and fight today. It came down to the wire. I tried my best and put it all out there."
American Sloane Stephens outlasted
The seventh-seeded Stephens squandered a 5-2 lead in the opening set before prevailing in a tiebreaker. She let three match points disappear in the contest's final game before Vesnina hit her service return wide to secure the match.
The 23-year-old Stephens won her fourth career tournament and third of 2016, adding the year's first clay court event to victories at Auckland and Acapulco. She advanced to the final when
Vesnina, who had to qualify last weekend to make the main draw, showed her grit despite playing her eighth match of the tournament.