Mon, Feb 27, 2017 - Page 11 News List

On-song Tsonga to tackle Pouille in all-French final

AFP, MARSEILLE, France

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returns to Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their Open 13 singles semi-final in Marseille, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Red-hot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 6-4 on Saturday to make the final of the Open 13 in Marseille in which he was due to meet fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

Victory yesterday in the final would mean a career first for Tsonga of back-to-back ATP Tour triumphs and marks a real return to form for last year’s US Open quarter-finalist.

Last week, Tsonga won the title in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he came from a set down to beat Belgian David Goffin.

“I’m on top form right now so let’s see,” Tsonga said. “I did what I had to do, it was great tennis.”

Kyrgios had his serve broken at 5-4 serving for the set and went down 7-5 in the eventual tiebreaker for the first set.

The infamously temperamental Australian was the defending champion and rampaged back to claim the second set 6-2, but a fully determined Tsonga won out with a 6-4 final set.

“I wanted to show him I’d be there for each shot,” said Tsonga, who is due to climb to eighth in the world rankings.

Pouille thumped another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, 7-5, 6-3 and had even been leading 5-0 in the second set.

Pouille and Tsonga have only met once before, Tsonga winning on the clay in Monaco last season.

“Jo is right back on form and I’m glad to be playing him tomorrow. I’ll need to serve well to beat him,” Pouille said.

DELRAY BEACH OPEN

AFP, MIAMI

Top-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic held off Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) on Saturday to book a title clash with Jack Sock at the Delray Beach Open.

Despite some shaky moments, Raonic fought off a set point in the second-set tiebreaker and closed out the match with his 17th ace to advance to a meeting with Sock, a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) winner over fellow American Donald Young.

“You know it’s going to be close, so it’s about keeping disciplined and a positive attitude on the court,” Raonic said.

World No. 4 Raonic broke Del Potro in the 11th game of the second set to serve for the match, but the big-serving 26-year-old was broken back, firing a forehand wide to give Del Potro a break point which the 2009 US Open winner converted with a backhand winner.

Raonic was close again with a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker and two service points to come, but he double-faulted and sent a forehand wide to give Del Potro a set point that the seventh seed could not convert.

Another forehand long from Del Potro gave Raonic a 7-6 lead and the Canadian won a third straight point to reach his first final of the season.

“He was coming so fast to my game and slice that I couldn’t manage my backhands,” Del Potro said. “I tried my best, but he was too good.”

Sock was seeking to add a second title of the year to the one he lifted in Auckland last month.

He saved the only break point he faced in the match and won the final seven points of the second-set tiebreaker to seize the victory.

“It definitely could have gone either way in the first set,” Sock said. “He’s a tricky player in that he makes you play a lot of balls and can wear you down, but also has great hands at the net when he comes forward.”

In the semi-finals of the doubles, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun and Leander Paes of India fell to a 6-2, 6-1 defeat to third seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi in just 58 minutes.

The Philippine-Belarussian duo were due to face second seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of the US in the final after they ousted Jonathan Erlich of Israel and Scott Lipsky of the US 6-3, 3-6, 10-1.

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