Tsonga downs Monfils, wins Qatar Open title
JO-WILFRIED Tsonga overcame his first service break and a knock on his knee before beating compatriot Gael Monfils in straight sets in an all-French final at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Saturday.
Called ‘Diesel Engine’ for his slow pick up, Tsonga, a semifinalist in his first appearance last year, reeled off the last four games in a row in the first set and went on to clinch the final 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 57 minutes for his eighth ATP title.
More importantly, he has found the rhythm and touch at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex with which he wanted to go to the Australian Open.
While Tsonga received a cheque of $175,380 and earned 250 points, the runner-up earned $92,360 and 150 points.
This was the first all-French final in the 20-year history of the event and a second time that the finalists came from the same country. In 1995, Swedes Stefan Edberg and Magnus Larsson had clashed in the final, with the former taking home the back-toback crown.
With this triumph in the fourth match on the Tour against Monfils, Tsonga, who blasted 23 winners to his rival’s 15 on Saturday, became the third French winner after Fabrice Santoro in 2000 and Nicolas Escude in 2004. Also, the winner made much less unforced errors –18 to 27 of Monfils’.
Tsonga said, “It was a final against a friend. The condition was unusual. It was the first tournament of the year and so everything was different. But I reacted really well. I played good tennis today. I’m just really happy to win.”