Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended a disappointing stretch of tournaments by winning the European Open in Antwerp. The Frenchman overpowered Diego Schwartzman to race to a 6-3, 7-5 victory in just over an hour and a half. For the first time in his career, Tsonga has manged to capture four titles in a single season by adding to his triumphs in Rotterdam, Marseilles and Lyon.
Big Match Experience Prevails
The Frenchman started the final in supreme form and completely outplayed Schwatzman for a set and a half. However, the diminutive Argentine is a tricky customer who refuses to give up and he is also statistically, one of the best returners on the planet. The last time that Schwartzman failed to break his opponents serve was way back in Winston-Salem last year against Yen-Hsun Lu. The Argentine extended his streak by breaking Tsonga twice – immediately after losing serve himself on both occasions. However, the Frenchman demonstrated his experience and dug deep to gain victory in only the second edition of the European Open. Last year, Richard Gasquet won the title defeating Schwartzman and this year another Frenchman denied him a first hard court trophy.
The Frenchman has not been playing close to his ability of late so every trophy Tsonga can win is a special moment. “I’m really happy to win this trophy,” Tsonga said in his post match interview, “I’m 32 now and I hope I will be able to get some more of them. I will take this one and keep it in my memories”. The European Open champion recognised that he is getting older and that he still wants to win more which is great to see from such a popular champion as Tsonga is.
Strange Year for Tsonga
2017 has been a very peculiar year for the former Grand Slam finalist. As far as titles are concerned, this it is his most successful year due to his astonishing haul of four trophies. Nonetheless he has not played a high level of tennis for over six months and had he done so, he would have surely qualified for the ATP Finals in London. Tsonga has lost in his opening match on five occasions this season including his shock first round loss at the French Open. Since winning the title in Lyon, he then only managed to win five of his next twelve matches before his run in Antwerp. It really is a year of two halves because before Roland Garros, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was on fire.
Tsonga started the year by making yet another Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. Shortly after this he embarked on a nine match winning streak which saw him capture back-to-back titles in Rotterdam and Marseilles. The birth of his child then resulted in Tsonga taking some time away from the tour and he later returned and won his first ever clay court title in Lyon. Only three men have managed to win more titles this year than Tsonga: Rafael Nadal (6), Roger Federer (6) and Alexander Zverev (5).
Antwerp Title Boosts His Davis Cup Final Chances
His run to the Antwerp title may prove to be huge for his season because he is now a heavy favourite to be selected to represent France in the Davis Cup final in December. The French team will be taking on Belgium at home in Lille. The tie is too close to call and Tsonga is the highest ranked Frenchman so surely he will be picked. Teammate Gael Monfils is doubtful for the rest of the season and the other players competing for a spot in the team are Pouille, Gasquet and Mannarino. Tsonga would love to end the years of hurt and help France win their first Davis Cup title since 2001.
Winning the European Open in Antwerp has proven to be quite a monumental week for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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