ERSTE BANK OPEN 2011
Finals Hopefuls Tsonga, Del Potro To Vie For Vienna Title
by ATP Staff|
Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face off against No. 2 seed Juan Martin del Potro for the Erste Bank Open title on Sunday in a battle of Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contenders. Should Tsonga defeat the Argentine, he’ll move ahead of Mardy Fish for seventh place in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings, but del Potro has won all three of his previous meetings with Tsonga.
"Of course tomorrow Juan Martin will play his best tennis because he wants to play, he wants to win and it’s going to be difficult," said Tsonga. "I will give everything on the court, like every time, to win this match."
Tsonga dismissed qualifier Daniel Brands 6-2, 7-6(4) in one hour and 24 minutes to advance to his fourth final of the season.
The Frenchman broke Brands twice to take the opening set before the German settled into the match in the second set, forcing Tsonga to close him out in a tie-break. The World No. 9 won 78 per cent of his service points, hitting 13 aces along the way.
"It was difficult because I played well in this match," reflected Tsonga. "I had a lot of chances to break him and I didn’t do it and after that it was tough because I had to play a tie-break. [Overall] I did well. I started well; it’s good for me."
Making his event debut, Tsonga will aim to win his second title of the year after hoisting the trophy in Metz (d. Ljubicic) to start his fall indoor season five weeks ago. He also finished runner-up in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and London / Queen’s Club (d. Murray).
The second-seeded del Potro continued his surge towards London, edging sixth seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
After splitting the first two sets, del Potro and Anderson were locked in a service battle in the third set, with neither seeing break point until the final game of the match. While Anderson hit nine aces in the set, the South African fell behind 4-5, 15-40, and del Potro converted on his second match point opportunity to claim victory in two hours and 13 minutes.
The two combined to fire 35 aces, with the Argentine hitting one more than Anderson to improve to a 2-0 record against the 25 year old. "I haven't played in a final since Estoril, so it means a lot to me," said del Potro. "I was focused as I kept trying to break his serve, and I did in the last game of the match."
Del Potro is looking to win his third trophy of the season, having triumphed in Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic) and Estoril (d. Verdasco). The World No. 15 can add 230 South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings points by winning Sunday’s title match, but will stay at No. 11 in the battle for London win or lose.