Tsonga bounces back with perfect week
Originally published on: 24/09/12 00:00
The world No.7 had been dealt his earliest Grand Slam loss since the 2007 Australian Open in New York when Slovakia’s Martin Klizan beat him in four sets in the second round, but Tsonga bounced back this weekend and trounced Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-2 in just 50 minutes. Victory in the showpiece match followed comfortable wins over Clement Reix and Jesse Levine, and a hard fought semi-final win over Nikolay Davydenko.
“If I had to define this week, I would simply say it was a perfect one,” said the 27-year-old Frenchman, who had bettered the now-retired Ivan Ljubicic in last year’s final.
“This is the first time I have been able to defend a title,” added Tsonga. “It’s even more special that it’s here at the Moselle Open, where I am the ambassador.”
Tsonga, who currently occupies eighth spot in the race for a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, boosted his hopes of competing at the year-end event for a third time with victory at the ATP World Tour 250 event. Tsonga won a solitary round robin match on his debut at the Tennis Masters Cup in China in 2008, but was in fine form on his first appearance in London last year, defeating Mardy Fish, Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych to make the final, where he lost to Roger Federer in a close three sets.
In St. Petersburg, meanwhile, Martin Klizan continued his dramatic upsurge in fortunes, beating Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-3 to win his first ATP title and move to a career-high No.33 in the singles ladder. The 23-year-old Bratislava native fought for three hours and 49 minutes to get past 2004 champion Mikhail Youzhny in the semi-finals before bypassing Fognini in the title-match, and admits that his victory over Tsonga in New York has given him renewed confidence.
“It was a big result for me. I started to understand that I can also play well on hard courts,” said Klizan, who is targeting being seeded at next January’s Australian Open as his big goal for the remainder of the year. “I'm still fighting for that and I hope I can do it,” he said.