August 11, 2014
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s scary serving power and pure athleticism proved too much for a courageous, yet fatally misfiring Roger Federer in Toronto.
The flamboyant Frenchman secured only the second Masters title of his career with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory after Federer’s forehand deserted him. Tsonga became the first Frenchman to win Toronto and roared back into the world top ten. No one could say he didn’t deserve the title after he downed Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov and finally Federer.
For all his grace, the Swiss genius couldn’t penetrate Tsonga’s first serve with any kind of consistency and failed to earn a single break point. In sharp contrast, the younger man was simply ruthless when it mattered at the end of each set.
Federer had predicted that he would be walking into a storm in this final – and that is precisely how it unfolded. Roger said later: ‘Jo deserved his title and beat great players along the way. Congrats. I’m happy for you, man.’
Two loose shots at just the wrong moment were enough to see Tsonga take that opening set 7-5, after games had gone with serve and we seemed to be heading towards a tie-break. Inexplicably, Roger double-faulted at 3-4 down in the second set to fall 15-40 behind. He fought back heroically to save the game but fatigue was clearly creeping in.
At times Federer’s stroke-play looked laboured, whereas earlier in the tournament it had seemed so effortless.
Yet Roger bravely saved a first match point at 4-5. Tsonga complained bitterly that someone in the crowd had distracted him at the vital moment.
Nevertheless, Federer fought like a lion to stay in contention and even had the chance of a mini-break at the start of the tie-break.
He fired wide and Tsonga promptly overpowered him with ease to close out the match 7-3 in the breaker.
Tsonga said: ‘Thanks Roger, you are just an amazing guy and I’ve got a lot of respect for you. It couldn’t have been a good win without you. I have the trophy and I’ve just so happy!’
Want to see the world’s most entertaining players at Wimbledon next year? Reserve your tickets here…