Tsonga Topples Federer For Toronto Title
Tsonga becomes the first Frenchman to triumph on Canadian soil, claiming his 11th tour-level crown. The 2008 BNP Paribas Masters champion (d. Nalbandian) ended an 18-month title drought, since defeating Tomas Berdych in Marseille last year. He will return to the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since March.
"I feel good," said a jubilant Tsonga. "I think for the moment I don't realize really what I achieved this week, but it's a big achievement for me.
"It's completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. Here I just did it with my level, with my game. I played well all week. I beat many good guys. It's a big achievement because I worked really hard to come back from my knee injury last year."
Tsonga defeated four Top 10 opponents in four days, en route to the title, upending World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 9 Andy Murray, eighth-ranked Grigor Dimitrov and No. 2 Federer. He is the first player to do so at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event since Guillermo Canas achieved the feat in Toronto 12 years ago. He also becomes the first Masters 1000 champion ranked outside the Top 10 since then-World No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic prevailed in Indian Wells in 2010.
The Nicolas Escude & Thierry Ascione pupil was once again ruthless on serve in the final, as he had been all week, winning 94 per cent of first-serve points, firing 11 aces and not facing a break point. Federer saved a match point while serving down 4-5 in the second set, but was unable to overcome Tsonga’s attacking onslaught in the ensuing tie-break, falling after 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Federer, who turned 33 years old on Friday, was bidding to become the first player to claim 300 match wins at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. Victory would have given the Swiss 80 tour-level titles, joining Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) as the only players to achieve the feat.
"Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me," said Federer. "No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to and I think he served well overall, which was key for him.
"I'm overall pretty happy that I made the finals in my first tournament back on hard courts...I know what I need to work on the next few days and next few weeks."
Tsonga narrowed Federer’s FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage to 11-5, having won all three meetings at the Rogers Cup. The Le Mans native takes home $598,900 and 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points.
Both players will feature in the seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year, next week at the Western & Southern Open. Tsonga opens against Mikhail Youzhny, while Federer begins his campaign against either Radek Stepanek or Vasek Pospisil.