Two ATP-250 events were concluded last Sunday, September, 27, 2015. In the all-French final at Metz’s Moselle Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Gilles Simon to take his 12th ATP World Tour title while Canada’s Milos Raonic defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa to end his 14-month title drought to win the St. Petersburg Open. For Tsonga, it was the third title victory at Metz after he won in 2011 by defeating Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic and in 2012, the Frenchman beat Italian Andreas Seppi. The Sunday’s final was a rematch of the 2013 final, where Tsonga had lost to Simon in straight sets. For Raonic , who had six ATP World Tour titles on his name, the seventh came after more than a year. Both Tsonga and Raonic collected 250 ATP points and boosted their chances for the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London.
Tsonga entered the final at Metz for the fourth time in the last five years and took on compatriot Gilles Simon for the title clash. The opening three games in the first set were decided after scores reached deuces each time. But Tsonga dug his heels and survived. Simon looked a more consistent player in the first set and that resulted in a higher count of Tsonga’s unforced errors. However, Tsonga clung on to deny six break-point chances to Simon with four service winners, including three aces. After Tsonga trailed 2-5 in the first set tie-break, he rallied bravely to win five straight points and clinched the set in 65 minutes. In the second game of the second set, Tsonga faced another break but survived. However, Simon finally broke Tsonga in the eighth game and leveled the set scores 1-1. In the decider, Tsonga found his rhythm and with some luck opened a 3-1 lead. From that point onwards, Tsonga’s victory was never in doubt as he wrapped up the match 7-6, 1-6, 6-2 to win his third Moselle Open title. Interestingly, Metz has been a happy hunting ground for French players, who have won six titles in the last seven years.
The men’s doubles title at Metz was won by the Polish-French combo of Lukasz Kubot/ Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who defeated Frenchmen US Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbertand Nicolas Mahut 2-6, 6-3, 10-7. Kubot/Roger-Vasselin had lost the first set but they forced the match tie-break by winning the second. Once again, the eventual champions slipped to 1-4 deficit in the decider and trailed yet again 5-7. But they found their form to take 5 straight points to emerge as the 2015 Moselle Open champions.
In St. Petersburg Open, Milos Raonic won his seventh ATP World Tour title after a long wait. In the final, he faced a vastly improved Joao Sousa of Portugal and defeated him 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Raonic had an easy take on the first set by breaking Sousa in the fourth game but the Portuguese bounced back to take the second. Raonic had pushed Sousa, who fended off four break-point chances but nothing came off as Sousa held on. Then the Portuguese broke Raonic to take a 3-1 lead and went on to claim the second set. In the decider, Raonic capitalized on a double fault by Sousa and found a break in the second game. But Sousa roared back to hold four break opportunities against Raonic in the crucial third game. Raonic saved them all and clinched victory in 2 hours 7 minutes. The highlight of the match was the Canadian saving 9 out of 10 break points and serving 22 aces. Raonic is still in contention for one of the four remaining berths at Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. But he has too many contenders and his performance over the next few weeks will be the key.
The men’s doubles crown at St. Petersburg fell in the laps of top-seeds Philippines’ Treat Huey and Finland’s Henri Kontinen. Huey/Kontinen were making their debut in the tournament and they easily came through by defeating Austrians Julian Knowle/Alexander Peya 7-5, 6-3 in 88 minutes.
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