TOKYO // Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France defeated Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3 today to win the Japan Open for his third title of the season. "Today, I played perfect, just like yesterday," said Tsonga, who hit 11 aces and won in just 69 minutes. "When I play like that it is tough for my opponent to win." Tsonga advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Gael Monfils on Saturday.
The world's seventh-ranked player notched his third title of the season, following wins at Johannesburg and Marseille. Tsonga had his first break of the day in the seventh game to go up 4-3. He then held serve and hit his fourth ace of the day to close out the first set. He won the first game of the second set with back-to-back aces, the first one coming on second service. "I was something like 75 per cent on my first serve today," Tsonga said. "So I knew I had a pretty good chance of putting my ball on the court even with my second serve." With Sunday's win, Tsonga boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals in November. The Frenchman is pushing for one of the three remaining singles berths at the season climax to be held in London November 22-29.
Youzhny, who is 49th in the world, was pleased just to have reached the final. "It was a good week for me," Youzhny said. "I played well, I beat some good players. I cannot say I played bad but he played better than me today." Top-ranked Roger Federer pulled out of the $1.2 million (Dh4.4m) event, citing fatigue, along with third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain, who withdrew because of a wrist injury.
Austrian pair Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer won the doubles title, edging Britain's Ross Hutchins and Australia's Jordan Kerr 6-2, 5-7, 10-8. * AP