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Fellow Frenchman Benneteau Stops Tsonga's Title Defense In Marseille

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Julien Benneteau at Open 13

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France
(Photos by AP)

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Julien Benneteau at Open 13MARSEILLE, France (AFP) — Frenchman Julien Benneteau will seek to win the first tournament of his career on Sunday after beating second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals of the Open 13 tournament here.

Eighth-seeded Benneteau beat his compatriot Tsonga 7-6 (13/11), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3) in a fiercely contested 2hr 57min match on Saturday.

He will now face compatriot Michael Llodra, who prevailed 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) over German Mischa Zverev.

Benneteau, who defeated world number one Roger Federer at the Paris Masters in November, will contest the fourth final of his career at the age of 28.

Defending champion Tsonga broke first in the opening set but Benneteau fought back to take it to a tie-break that he eventually won after a titanic tussle.

Tsonga levelled things up by winning the second set, battling back from 5-3 down to cancel out Benneteau's advantage, but the world number 39 refused to be cowed and sewed up victory in a tense deciding tie-break.

"Julien has really improved," said Tsonga, the world number nine.

"He makes fewer errors with his forehand. He deserves a first victory."

"It was a great match, an intense battle," enthused Benneteau. "I was afraid because I was leading 5-3 in the second set and I couldn't see it out.

"But I'm proud to have held on until the end. I'm not going to put crazy pressure on myself to win my first tournament though.

"I have to build on what I did here, where've I've gone after matches against players ranked higher than me."

Posted by Shelia

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