Tsonga Bags First ATP Title

by John on September 29, 2008

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his first ATP tournament yesterday, defeating top-seeded Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. It was the hard-hitting Frenchman’s second tournament since returning from a three-month layoff following knee surgery. The victory avenged the second-seeded Tsonga’s four-set loss to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final. “This win is very special, I’ve wanted this since I was young,” Tsonga said. “This is a dream come true. I’m happy to win. Novak is a great player. In tennis, you have to enjoy the moment. It’s great to win at last and I want to win more and more.” Jo-Willie burst upon the scene as an unseeded giant-killer at the Australian Open in January, knocking out Andy Murray, Mikhail Youzhny, Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal enroute to the final. Great things were expected of the ebullient Frenchman’s following his star-is-born fortnight in Melbourne. Since then, Tsonga reached a career-high No. 11 ranking on May 26 while advancing to the semifinals at Casablanca, where, prior to his match with Gilles Simon, he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him through the summer. With the victory, Tsonga improved four spots to No. 16 in today’s new rankings. Djokovic, No. 3 on the ATP computer, was looking for his fourth title of the year and first since the Italian Open in May. “I lost against a great player,” Djokovic said. “Jo wisely used his opportunities and deserved to win his first title. I played a bit too defensive. You have to take your opportunities and I didn’t.” Tsonga plays in the AIG Japan Open this week and it looks like he’s primed to finish the season on a strong run.

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