Tsonga Advances To Fifth Metz Final
Frenchman to meet Bedene in final
What a difference a year makes.
At last year’s Moselle Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell in three sets against defending champion Peter Gojowczyk in his first match in seven months following left knee surgery. On Saturday, the 34-year-old Frenchman advanced to his fifth final at the ATP 250 event with a 7-6(6), 7-6(4) victory against Lucas Pouille.
The 6’2” Frenchman extended his unbeaten record in Metz semi-finals (5-0) after one hour and 50 minutes, dropping just three points behind his first serve (23/26). Tsonga improves to 22-4 at the event and is now one win away from becoming the first player to capture four Metz trophies. The 17-time tour-level titlist shares the tournament record with fellow three-time winner Gilles Simon.
Tsonga will face Aljaz Bedene for the trophy on Sunday. The Frenchman owns a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Bedene, having triumphed in their only previous meeting at Roland Garros in 2013.
“I know Aljaz has improved a lot since we last played,” said Tsonga. “He is playing very confidently now. He has been playing amazing all week, serving really well. I am looking forward to a big battle, a difficult match, but I am going to do everything to try and lift the trophy for a fourth time.”
If Tsonga claims his 18th ATP Tour trophy, he will become the ninth French winner in the past 11 editions of the tournament. Only David Goffin (2014) and Gojowczyk (2017) have broken the French dominance of the event since Gael Monfils’ title run in 2009.
The semi-final encounter was decided by a pair of tie-breaks, with neither player able to break serve. In fact, there was only one break point throughout the pair’s fifth FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter (Tsonga leads 3-2), with Pouille failing to capitalise at 3-3 in the first set.
In the opening tie-break, Tsonga was forced to save set point at 5/6. The World No. 61 served well under pressure before bringing his forehand into play and charging the net to take a one-set advantage.
After failing to create any break-point opportunities in the second set, Tsonga moved up the court well and showed great touch around the net in the tie-break. After gaining a mini-break at 4/4, the three-time champion closed out the match with dominant serving to reach his fifth Metz final.
“I am extremely happy with the way I played,” said Tsonga. “I was very solid. I served very well, especially on the key points. The match was played over a few points and I was extremely solid.”
Did You Know?
Tsonga has lifted nine of his 17 ATP Tour titles in France. The Frenchman owns three titles in both Metz (2011-’12, ’15) and Marseille (2009, ’13, ’17), as well as triumphs at the 2008 Rolex Paris Masters, 2017 Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon and this year’s Open Sud de France.