Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tsonga, Radwanska tops at Rogers Cup

TORONTO—As a No. 13 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a punishing draw at the Rogers Cup.
He didn’t have big expectations entering the tournament but proceeded to take down some of the biggest names in tennis en route to the final.

Once he got there, arguably the greatest player in the sport’s history became his latest victim.
Tsonga relied on his powerful serve and strong baseline game in a 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory over second-seeded Roger Federer at Rexall Centre yesterday.
The Frenchman took advantage of a rare off-day from the Swiss great and capitalized on his chances.
“I’m working hard, my motivation came back,” said Tsonga, who has battled knee problems over the last two years.
“I want to win,” he noted. “I want to play my best tennis on the court.
“And it happened today.”
It was his fourth-straight victory over a top-10 opponent.
He upset top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the third round, eighth-seeded Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, and seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-finals.
Tsonga earned $598,900 (U.S.) for winning the $3.78-million tournament while Federer received $293,650 as the finalist.
It was Tsonga’s second career Masters 1000 Series win and his first victory at this event.
He took out three members of the so-called “Big Four” this week.
The other—2013 champion Rafael Nadal—withdrew due to injury.
“I think for me it’s going to be a new motivation because just last year I always lost against those guys and it was really frustrating for me,” Tsonga said.
“Then today a win against [Federer], it’s good for me, it’s good for my ambition, and it’s good for my career.”
Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, was his usual consistent self in a semi-final win over Feliciano Lopez a night earlier.
But he had a hard time with the quick turnaround to a mid-afternoon start on a glorious summer day.
“I fought, I mixed it up, and I was hoping to sort of sneak in a set and then maybe he would get a bit nervous or maybe would play a bad game,” Federer noted.
“But I just couldn’t create enough opportunities.”
Meanwhile, in Montreal, Agnieszka Radwanska won the $2.44 million (U.S.) women’s Rogers Cup with a too-easy 6-4, 6-2 victory over Venus Williams yesterday.
The third-seeded Radwanska—the first Rogers Cup champion from Poland—picked up her first tournament win of the year at the hardcourt event and the $441,000 winner’s prize.
“She played great tennis the whole week; playing and beating a lot of good players on the way to the final,” Radwanska said of Williams, a seven-time grand slam champion in her glory years.
“I think I am even more happy to beat Venus when she’s really on fire.”
Radwanska, ranked fifth in the world to Williams’ 26th, posted her first Rogers Cup win after twice reaching the semi-finals.
It was her first victory since 2013 at Seoul.
She was the best, most consistent player all week—mowing down Victoria Azarenka in two sets in the quarter-finals before beating a hot Ekaterina Makarova in two long sets in the semis.
“I think I was playing much better every match,” the 25-year-old Radwanska said.
“I didn’t start that well from my first match, but every match was much better.”

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