The race for the final spots in London are taking shape. With just a little over two weeks left in the men’s season, three spots remain, four if you discount the injured Rafael Nadal. And the next three in, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are all looking to add points tomorrow in Sunday finals.
The No. 6 Berdych meets the eighth (in the race) Tsonga for the Stockholm title. Berdych has won two of three with the Frenchman including a victory last week in Shanghai.
“We played last week and it was a very close game,” said Berdych who beat Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals today. “We both want to play our best tennis tomorrow. He plays very aggressively and I will try to focus on my game. If it works, then I will have a good chance of winning.”
Tsonga reached the final after Marcos Baghdatis retired with a groin injury down 5-2 in the third set.
“I know I can still improve and I hope I will play well tomorrow,” said Tsonga, who has a 9-6 record in tour-level finals. Berdych is 7-8 lifetime in title matches.
It’s the first time that the top seeds seeds have reached the Stockholm final since 1991 when No. 2 Boris Becker defeated No. 1 Stefan Edberg in five sets. It’s also the 10th 1-2 seeded final on the ATP World Tour this season (No. 1s are 6-3).
Berdych is seeking his 2nd title of 2012, 8th of his career. Tsonga is out for his 3rd of the season, 10th overall.
In Vienna, Del Potro continued to look sharp indoors easing past Gilles Muller in two tiebreaks.
“The second final in a row is nice for me,” said Del Potro who lost to Tsonga in the 2011 Vienna finale. “I am getting better match-by-match, which means improvements in my game and to my confidence. I am very happy to play in the final again.”
He’ll meet surprise finalist Grega Zmelja in the final. The qualifier Zmelja upset Janko Tipsarevic 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.
“It was an interesting and difficult situation for me before the tournament. I was preparing last week for this tournament and I found out I was the first on the waiting list to get into the main draw in Stockholm,” the 26-year-old Zemlja said. “So I was deciding whether to go to Stockholm or play in the qualification here. I said I’d rather play here and that I have a good feeling. I think it was a pretty good decision. I don’t regret it.”
Arriving in the Moscow final, it’s Andreas Seppi and Tomaz Bellucci. In the women’s field Caroline Wozniacki meets Sam Stosur.
And at WTA Luxembourg, in a battle of comeback queens, Venus Williams powered past Andrea Petkovic to reach the final against Monica Niculescu. Venus is into her first final since 2010 Madrid. Her last title came at Acapulco in February 2010, her 43rd of her career.
“It’s great to be in the final, but I’m more focused on just winning the match, so I can win the tournament,” Venus said. “I don’t want to stop.”
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