Roger Federer ended the 2011 regular season on the highest of notes today beating JW Tsonga 6-1, 7-6(3) to capture his first Paris Indoors Masters title.
“I’m just really ecstatic to have played so well this week from start to finish,” said Federer. “Basically from first ball struck against Mannarino all the way until the very end here. I couldn’t be more happy. I have had many attempts trying to win Paris Bercy, and for some reason, I wasn’t able to win it earlier. But this one obviously feels great and it’s a special victory.”
Behind solid serving and strong play off the ground, Federer was ultra sharp early on against the streaky Frenchman racing out to a 5-0 lead behind two service breaks. Tsonga, though, eventually settled in toward the end of the first set and continued to fight well in the second.
As Federer’s serve began to dip he had to save multiple break points. But the 30-year-old regrouped and then blew away Tsonga at the finish line winning 16 of the final 24 points.
“Jo was always with the back against the wall, so I was really able to put him under pressure and play aggressive with myself,” said Federer. “Couple of hiccups maybe midway through the second. I didn’t serve so well anymore, but I saved the best for last. I played a good tie-breaker and got the win here, which is very nice.”
Tsonga had beaten Federer twice over the summer, memorably at Wimbledon and again at Canada. But the Swiss has now won five straight sets over him.
“If I had played better at the start it would have changed things. The key of the match was there,” said Tsonga. “Every time we play each other it’s similar. If I am able to fight back at the start, then I play well. But if I lose the first set like I did today, then it becomes more difficult for me.”
Federer now has won 12 straight matches and his title in Paris, which came without the loss of a set, was his 69th of his career and 18th in Masters events putting him one behind leader Rafael Nadal.
With his confidence and game on top, Federer appears to be in prime form for the upcoming ATP Finals in London which begin a week from today.
“I have played well for a few months now,” Federer said. “Maybe I didn’t win the US Open, but we all know I was one point away from making the finals and then who know? But Novak was able to come back in that great match against me at the Open. And before that I think I had some really good moments, where I actually did play very well, such as Wimbledon and the French Open where I think more was possible, too.
“I have had some really tough losses this year, but I kept believing that still the year wasn’t over, I can still finish this year on a high, which that proves to be the case. Now I still have a massive highlight coming up in a week’s time.”
The win also puts him back into the No. 1 discussion. If he can walk away with the London title he’ll be within striking distance of Nadal for the No. 2 spot in Australia.
With Novak Djokovic’s shoulder an issue, Nadal perhaps more concerned with the Davis Cup finale and Andy Murray under the British microscope, Federer may very well be the tournament favorite to win London. Who’s playing better than him?
It’s worth repeating, how quickly things change in tennis.
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