TORONTO, August 9, 2014: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga dealt the new tennis generation a blow with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday at the Toronto Masters to reach his first final in Canada.
The 29-year-old Frenchman will face off for his second Masters 1000 shield on Sunday when he plays the winner from the match between two-time Canadian champion Roger Federer and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Tsonga claimed a Masters win at Paris Bercy in 2008, but lost in Paris and London in two other finals to Federer.
“I’m feeling good, I’ve been waiting for this moment since a couple of years now. I’ve always believed it myself during all these years, and all those weeks where I was losing,” said the winner.
“Finally I get a little reward (with the victory), it’s good for me. It will for sure make me stronger, keep my motivation at the highest level.”
Tsonga spent fewer than 90 minutes in dispatching 23-year-old Bulgarian Dimitrov, the youngest member of the ATP Tour’s top 10 who stands eighth in the world and is tipped as one of the stars of the future.
The Frenchman took victory on his second match point after a tie in which he struck seven aces, saved all four break points he faced and fired 22 winners as he broke his opponent three times.
Tsonga needed to work for three-quarters of an hour to win the opening set against a player he beat three times in 2011.
Tsonga earned a break for 5-4 in the opener and claimed the set after a marathon final game in which he saved four break points — an ace and three service winners — before taking the set 6-4 with another powerful serve.
In the second set, the Frenchman got on top 2-1 and then broke again in the final game to post his 29th win of the season against 13 losses.
Tsonga reached the semis after upsetting world number one Novak Djokovic and 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray back-to-back in the two previous rounds.
“This week I’ve been more consistent, I’ve been able to beat three guys in the top 10 (including number nine Dimitrov). I haven’t done that for a couple of years now, it gives me hope for the rest of the year.”
Tsonga is bidding for his 11th career trophy. He has a 5-11 career record against Federer and is 5-0 over Lopez.
Dimitrov said that his level dropped at precisely the wrong time.
“He played a good match, but I think I didn’t raise up the level the way I wanted to,” said the Bulgarian. “Still, I have to take the positive side of the week.
“Going to Cincinnati (next week) I feel quite good. I don’t put my head down for a second here, because it’s a good progress for me. I’m still disappointed with the loss. I’m not gonna hide that.
“I have to think positive. There is a lot of tournaments coming ahead. US Open is around the corner. I’ve got to make sure I’m fresh and ready.”