Tsonga Tops Nalbandian to Win Paris Masters

by John on November 3, 2008

Two of the hottest players on the ATP tour met in Paris yesterday to decide who would go to Shanghai. In their first meeting ever, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated defending champion David Nalbandian 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the final of the Paris Masters. With the win, Tsonga sealed the eighth and final spot in the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai next week. The title was the 23-year-old Frenchman’s second of the year and second of his career. Tsonga won the Thailand Open in late September. “I think tomorrow I’ll be in some pain, especially after the party I’m going to have,” the flamboyant 13th seed said afterward. For the eighth-seeded Nalbandian, the championship match was his third final in four tournaments over the last month. The Argentine won the Stockholm Open three weeks ago and lost the final of the Swiss Indoors to Roger Federer last week. Tsonga, who started the year with a great run at the Australian Open before losing in the final, produced a stunning display of serving and shot-making against the mercurial Nalbandian. “I think he served better than me and that was pretty much the key of the match,” Nalbandian said. “I didn’t play badly, but I didn’t play like the other days. I couldn’t move naturally.” Nalbandian had only four aces compared to 25 for Tsonga. The Argentine had defeated No. 9-ranked countryman Juan Martin Del Potro, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko enroute to the final. Tsonga dispatched No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the third round, No. 7 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals and No. 11 James Blake in the semis on Saturday. “I think the Masters will be a very important moment for me,” Tsonga said. “Maybe another great victory could replace this one. Why not? I’m going to give my best.”

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