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Tsonga Tops Del Potro For Vienna Title

Vienna, Austria

Tsonga© e|motion/zolles.comTsonga won his second title of the year Sunday in Vienna.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's prospects of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals were boosted on Sunday after the Frenchman notched his first victory against Juan Martin del Potro, defeating the Argentine 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to win the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With the win, Tsonga moves past Mardy Fish to No. 7 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings.

"I will try to take all the pressure off myself. I just want to play every tournament and enjoy it," stated Tsonga. "I will try to play my best tennis and not think about it the next two weeks, so we'll see. But of course I hope I will get there."

Neither the top-seeded Tsonga or second seed del Potro were able to make an impact on return in the first set, each failing to convert three break point opportunities, and that carried through to the tie-break, where del Potro edged the Frenchman to take a one set lead.

Del Potro looked to be in control of the match after converting the first break of serve to lead 2-1 in the second set, but Tsonga reeled off four straight games, and shortly evened the encounter at one set apiece. "I was 2-1 up on serve and played a bad service game," said del Potro. "He then started to play much better and more aggressive. He served unbelievable. It was a different match between the first set and that moment, and then the rest of the match."

In the final set, Tsonga stepped up on serve, firing nine of his 25 aces to win 80 percent of his service points. He broke the Argentine in the seventh game and closed out the final with a love service game, taking the hard-fought clash in two hours and 28 minutes. 

"I just tried to stay focused and strong in the head. I broke him back and came back in this final, and finally I did it," said Tsonga. "It was very special because at the end there was the retirement of Thomas Muster, and Goran Ivanisevic, one of  my favourite players, was there. It was a great final and it's going to stay in my memories."

Tsonga ended a three-match losing streak to del Potro and claimed his second title in 2011 after beginning the fall indoor season by lifting the trophy in Metz (d. Ljubicic). The World No. 9 also finished runner-up in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and London / Queen’s Club (l. to Murray).

Del Potro was looking to win his third title of the year after triumphs in Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic) and Estoril (d. Verdasco). With his result this week, del Potro jumps to 11th place in the chase to London with two tournaments left to go. "I'm sad because I lost but it was a good tournament for me," del Potro said. "Jo played much better in the important moments and took his opportunities. He's difficult to play because he's very fast and has a good forehand."

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©Arnaud Briand

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