February 18, 2017

Tsonga reaches Rotterdam final with 400th win

Tsonga reaches Rotterdam final with 400th win

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returns the ball to Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia on the fourth day of the ATP Qatar Open tennis competition in Doha on January 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rained down ten aces, finishing off Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-4 in 72 minutes on Saturday to power into a second Rotterdam World Tennis final and record his 400th career win.

The French sixth seed will compete for his first title at the Ahoy stadium after finishing runner-up six years ago.

He faces the winner from Belgian third seed David Goffin and surprise semi-finalist Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a French qualifier and member of the top ATP doubles side.

Tsonga was unstoppable against Berdych, the 2014 champion and 2015 finalist playing his fourth semi-final at the Dutch event.

Tsonga came good in his second semi-final of the season as he bids for a first trophy since winning at home in Metz in 2015.

Berdych came to the court with an 8-3 lead in the series, including wins in their last two meetings, one a Doha quarter-final last month.

Tsonga finished with two breaks of the 13th-ranked Czech while never facing a break point in what quickly became one-way traffic.

“My only goal is to win the next match, this would be important for me,” 2011 runner-up Tsonga said.

“I’m not too worried about my (14th) ranking unless I were able to get to eighth, that is the position where you are protected in the draw from other seeds.

“Berdych played a tough match, he’s a power player, hitting the ball hard like me. My strategy is always the same — the best strategy is to just play well.”

Goffin, who earned revenge in the quarter-finals as he beat Grigor Dimitrov five days after the Bulgarian won the Sofia event at the Belgian’s expense, will be facing Herbert for the first time.