Tennis

Tsonga to defend Moselle open crown against Seppi

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Associated Press
9/22/2012 10:50:22 AM
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METZ, France -- Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the Moselle Open final, where he will defend his title against fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy.

Both players will bid for their second titles of the season on Sunday. Tsonga's last win was the Qatar Open in Doha in January, while Seppi won the Serbia Open in Belgrade in May.

"This final means a lot to me because it means I'm back in form," said Tsonga, who has not reached a final since Doha.

Tsonga had lost both his previous matches to Davydenko, both on hard courts, in 2007 and '08.

"It's another era, one when he was also playing a lot better, but I'm happy to have beaten him for the first time," said Tsonga, who will aim for his ninth career title. Seppi bids for his third.

Tsonga looked set for an easier win after a lopsided first set, but the Russian took both of his chances to break Tsonga in the second set.

"It was hard, I didn't take my chances in the second set and he got on top," Tsonga said. "It wasn't easy to come back after that."

The match turned in Tsonga's favour in the ninth game of the decider when he broke Davydenko at the third opportunity when his ambitious volley flew long. Serving for the match, Tsonga sealed victory when Daydenko's big forehand went out.

Earlier, Seppi fought back to beat Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach his third final of the season.

"It's the best season of my career right now," Seppi said. "Three finals on different surfaces, it means that when I play well I can feel good on any surface."

Monfils broke the seventh-seeded Seppi in the sixth game and did not face a single breakpoint in the first set, winning 94 per cent of points on his first serve.

But Monfils, who has only just returned after several months out because of a knee injury, showed signs of tiredness and Seppi stepped up his performance in the second set, breaking Monfils twice.

"Even though I haven't been playing much, I still think it was within my reach," Monfils said. "I'm not satisfied. I would have liked to have reached the final, at least."

Seppi saved three breakpoints when serving for the match and clinched victory when Monfils returned high to give him an easy volley at the net.

"It's always tough against Gael, he is always fighting until the end," Seppi said. "It's never easy to close out the match, especially a semifinal here in France against him."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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