Tsonga cruises to Vienna glory

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has won the Erste Open by beating Juan Martin del Potro for the first time after three defeats.

The Frenchman thrilled the 3,500 tennis fans at the Stadthalle in Vienna by managing to come back after losing the first set in the tie break in yesterday’s (Sun) final. He upped his game in the second (6-3) and third (6-4) set to beat del Potro in two hours and 28 minutes.

Tsonga revealed after the match – which featured many long, exciting challenges – that he could imagine coming back next year to defend his title which earned him 250 ATP points and nearly 105,000 Euros. It was the ninth ATP Tour title for the French Davis Cup ace. “This victory means a lot to me because I managed to beat Juan Martin for the first time. Now I have to stay focused and keep playing well,” he said.

“I think it was a good final to watch. Jo performed better than me when it mattered,” Del Potro – who beat South African shooting star Kevin Anderson in the semi-final on Saturday – said. German Daniel Brands stood no chance against Tsonga in their semi-final clash.

Austrian tennis fans put great hope into Jürgen Melzer but the country’s best player dropped out against Anderson already in the quarter final. “Of course I am disappointed, but he was simply better than me today. I’m sure he will make his way into the top 20,” Melzer said after the match. The Vienna-based player from Lower Austria won the previous two editions of the tournament.

This year’s edition of the 650,000-Euro event marked the end of Thomas Muster’s career. The 1995 French Open champ decided to make his performance in Vienna this year the last on the ATP Tour. The former number one in the world started a comeback in professional tennis last year but had to accept a series of defeats before celebrating only a handful of victories. Muster, 44, lost against Dominic Thiem in the first round of the Erste Open 2011. The 18-year-old was beaten by Belgium’s Steve Darcis in the second round.

Bob and Mike Bryan, the world’s best doubles players, beat Belarusian Max Mirnyi and Canadian Daniel Nestor 7-6, 6-3 to claim the tournament’s doubles title. It was the 74th career title for the twin brothers from the United States. “We hate to lose more than anything else. Winning still matters a lot to us. We have sleepless nights every time we lose a match,” Bob Bryan said after their victory yesterday.

Erste Open organiser Herwig Straka said he was happy about this year’s roster. “There are not many players in the world who are both stronger and more charismatic than Del Potro and Tsonga,” he said. Straka revealed on Saturday he even managed to sign Andy Murray. However, the British star pulled out a few days before the tournament was set to start.

Straka persuaded Goran Ivanisevic to attend yesterday’s final to honour Muster whom he clashed with several times throughout his career. The Croatian tennis legend won the Viennese tournament twice (1993, 1997). Muster, who can look back on 44 career titles, never won in Vienna. The event’s list of winners features icons of the sport like Ivan Lendl (1981), Michael Stich (1991) and Pete Sampras (1998). Andre Agassi won in 1994, two years before Boris Becker claimed the title. Novak Djokovic, the current number one in world tennis, won in 2007.