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Tsonga rips up form book to take Marseille title

ESPN staff
February 24, 2013 « White: Machida is light-heavyweight No. 1 contender | Chartbeat test »
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga delivered a home win for French fans at the Open 13 © Getty Images
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reversed the form book against Tomas Berdych in front of a home crowd at the Open 13 final in Marseille to win a fifth ATP Tour title on French soil.

Elsewhere on the ATP Tour, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori picked up titles but neither had to battle as hard, nor as long, as Tsonga.

Berdych, the top seed, had beaten Tsonga in four of their five previous matches, winning all three collisions in 2012. But Tsonga refused to let the Czech improve that record and came back from losing the first set to win 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4 after two hours and 10 minutes on court.

Tsonga's victory was also his 10th Tour title overall but he looked destined to be stuck on nine for a while longer as Berdych dictated play from the start and forced him to save three early break points. At the fourth attempt the 2010 Wimbledon finalist converted his chance and that was enough for him to serve out for the first set.

World No. 6 Berdych had entered the tournament with a rotten record in Marseille, winning two of six previous matches, and his determination to overcome that run was vented through his aggression from the back of the court, which continued to trouble Tsonga in the early stages of the second set.

Serving well at all times, Berdych did not offer Tsonga a single opportunity on his own delivery in the first two sets. The Frenchman, meanwhile, offered his opponent three more opportunities to break, but saved them all to force a tiebreaker.

Tsonga's powerful first serve then came to the fore as he established a 4-2 lead. He briefly let Berdych draw level, in part due to his second double fault of the match, but held on to win the breaker to force a decider.

That served as the turning point for the 27-year-old as he broke early in the third. Tsonga then confirmed his advantage with a solid service hold, which included his 15th ace of the match, and from there he kicked on for victory, adding another two aces en route.

Earlier in the day there was joy for Britain's Colin Fleming, who combined with Rohan Bopanna to win the men's doubles. The pairing defeated top seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger 6-4 7-6(3) in the final.

In Argentina, David Ferrer added the Copa Claro title to his season's growing haul with a 6-4 3-6 6-1 win over Stanislas Wawrinka in Buenos Aires.

Ferrer's win, secured in one hour and forty-five minutes, was his 20th ATP Tour title of his career and follows his victory at the Heineken Open in Auckland in January.

The top seed broke his opponent six times throughout the match with three of those coming in the final set.

Wawrinka from Switzerland, was contesting his first final since 2011 and was competing to become the first player outside of South America and Spain to win the title.

Also on Sunday, Japan's Kei Nishikori won his third career title by beating Feliciano Lopez 6-2 6-3 in the US National Indoor Championships.

Fifth seed Nishikori needed just 67 minutes to oust the Spaniard and his straight sets victory allowed him to end the tournament without having dropped a set.

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