Tsonga earns London boost after Metz victory
Originally published on: 26/09/11 09:40
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga picked up his first title in two years at the Moselle Open in Metz to boost his hopes of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals this November.
Currently lying in seventh place in the hotly-contested race for London, Tsonga moves 250 points ahead of eighth-placed Tomas Berdych after beating Ivan Ljubicic 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 in two hours and 37 minutes.
“I’m so happy to have won the title, it was a long time since I lifted a trophy and I am happy I was able to do here in Metz, in front of the French public,” grinned Tsonga after hoisting aloft his first piece of silverware since winning in Tokyo in 2009.
“I really feel good, I am happy on the tennis court, things are working well and I hope I can continue that way. My goal for the season is to qualify for London, I was there two years ago and I didn’t play. I hope this time I will be able to play.”
The 26-year-old Frenchman defeated world No.275 Mathieu Rodrigues, Nicolas Mahut and Alexandr Dolgopolov before taking on 32-year-old Ljubicic, a past champion in Metz having picked up the title in 2005.
Tsonga hit seven aces and broke the Croat’s serve twice in a 38-minute first set, only to see the Monte-Carlo resident hit back from 4-2 down in the second to take the match to a deciding third, where he ultimately broke twice more for the victory.
“I knew it was going to be difficult,” admitted Tsonga. “That’s why I am not surprised about Ivan’s come back in the second set. Matches against him are always based on two or three crucial points.”
Ljubicic, meanwhile, lamented the loss of his agile youth as cause for defeat in his first final of the season.
“I feel I played as well as I could today,” admitted Ljubicic. “For some reason the balls were a little slower and I felt my serve wasn’t as effective. It was becoming very physical. There was a lot of long rallies and with Jo being younger and stronger, it was not good for me.”
Jamie Murray and Andre Sa won the doubles event in their first tournament together as a pair. The duo required just 85 minutes to lift the Moselle Open doubles crown, beating Lukas Dlouhy and Marcelo Melo 6-4 7-6(7) in 85 minutes.
“It was a great week. Really fun. From the first day of practice we have played well,” said the Scot after winning his first title since lifting the Valencia Open 500 with brother Andy in November 2010.