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Tsonga captures Japan Open title

Kyodo News

Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France defeated unseeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3 in the Japan Open final on Sunday.

Tsonga broke Youzhny once in the first set and twice in the second en route to capturing his third title of the year and fifth of his career.

He became the third different French winner on the ATP Tour in as many weeks, joining Gael Monfils in Metz and Gilles Simon in Bangkok.

“Today I played perfectly, like yesterday. My serve was good. When I play like that, it’s tough for my opponent to beat me,” said the 2008 Australian Open runnerup. “At the beginning of the week, I was tired. But I won some tough matches and then I played better and better every day.”

Tsonga fired 11 aces on a fast hard court surface at Ariake Colosseum and saved the only break point he faced in the match, at 1-all in the first set.

“He didn’t give me many chances to break him. His first-serve percentage (75 percent) was so high,” the 49th-ranked Youzhny said.

The second set stayed on serve until Tsonga broke to go up 4-3. The world No. 7 player broke again to end the match, converting his first match point with a forehand volley.

Tsonga has increased his chances to reach the ATP Tour Finals in November.

Asked if he thinks he can close in on the world’s top four — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic — Tsonga said, “Of course, if I play like this, but you know there is, all the time, the little word, ‘if.’ You never know. I hope I’ll continue to play like this toward the end of the season. I hope next year will be even better.”

The Japan Open doubles title went to Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer, who edged Ross Hutchins and Jordan Kerr 6-2, 5-7, 10-8.