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Tsonga saves match point before winning Open 13 title

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Associated Press
2/24/2013 11:01:19 AM
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MARSEILLE, France -- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved a match point before overcoming top-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 Sunday in the final of the Open 13.

The third-seeded Frenchman won his first title of the season and 10th of his career.

"That means much more than a 10th title," said Tsonga, who also won the tournament in 2009. "I could feel it coming. I've worked hard. It rewards my efforts at the beginning of the season. That's great. I play better than last year."

Tsonga hired Roger Rasheed of Australia as coach last October in an effort to improve his game.

Tsonga had to wait until the third game of the last set before winning his first break of serve, when Berdych sent a forehand into the net. The 2008 Australian Open runner-up clinched victory when the Czech hit a return long.

"This one was very close, I had very big chances," said Berdych, who led the Czech Republic to the Davis Cup title last year. "I was unlucky, I wasn't able to make them. It just happens sometimes."

In the opening set, Tsonga saved three break points at 2-1. But he then hit a backhand into the net to drop serve at 3-2. Berdych took the first set with a forehand winner.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, had to work harder in the second set. The Frenchman fired an ace to save a match point at 6-5 before capitalizing on an unforced error from the Czech to level at one set apiece.

"I doubted myself because he was playing unbelievably well for two sets", Tsonga said. "I managed to turn around the match on a tiny detail."

Tsonga saved five match points Friday before beating Bernard Tomic of Australia in the quarterfinals.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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