Tsonga Wins Clash of Frenchmen at Open 13

by John on February 23, 2009

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the Open 13 title yesterday in Marseille, edging Michael Llodra 7-5, 7-6 in an all-French final. The fourth-seeded Tsonga, ranked No. 12 in the world, sealed the match with an ace in the tiebreaker after Llodra double-faulted and missed a routine smash. Tsonga had 11 aces and won 40 of 46 points on his first serve. The flamboyant Frenchman is the 2009 ATP-tour ace leader with 235. “It was a great week for me,” Tsonga said. “I played perhaps my best tennis since the start of the year and I’m really happy about that.” Tsonga knocked off No. 3-ranked Novak Djokovic for the fourth straight time in Saturday’s semifinals. The title was Tsonga’s second ATP championship of the year and fourth of his career. The Frenchman won the SA Tennis Open two weeks ago in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tsonga improved to an ATP-best 19-4 on the season and has reached the quarterfinals or better in all six of his appearances this year. “Today I played really well, like yesterday,” Tsonga said. “Against Michael it’s different because you have to hit passing shots all the time and you’re always under pressure.” Llodra struggled with his serve against the 23-yeard-old Tsonga. “It was really close,” Llodra said. “But I did not land enough first serves to trouble him.” Tsonga, who reached a career-high No. 6 in the world in November, almost didn’t come to Marseille. “My dad underwent surgery five days ago. I dedicate this victory to him,” Tsonga said. “He may be listening from his hospital bed.”

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