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Tsonga defeats Federer to win men's title at Rogers Cup

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) to win the Rogers Cup men’s singles title on Sunday afternoon at Rexall Centre.

It was the fourth straight victory over a top-10 opponent for the Frenchman, who beat top-seeded Novak Djokovic, eighth-seeded Andy Murray and seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov en route to the final.

Federer, the No. 2 seed from Switzerland, made several uncharacteristic errors and had a hard time with Tsonga’s powerful serve and ground strokes. It was the second career Masters 1000 Series win for the 13th-seeded Tsonga and his first victory at this event.

It was also his first ATP title of the season and 11th of his career. Federer, who has 79 career wins and is a 17-time Grand Slam champion, fell to 2-5 in finals this season.

The first set was a rather choppy affair on a glorious summer afternoon on the stadium showcourt.

Both players made some unforced errors over the first few games but each held serve. Tsonga struggled with his first serve midway through the set but his spin-heavy second serve was effective.

The quality of the match picked up late in the set.

With Tsonga serving at 5-5, Federer showed his skills at the net with a deft drop shot that a fully-stretched Tsonga could not retrieve. The Frenchman’s serve picked him up though and he picked up the hold to put the pressure back on the world No. 3.

Federer became unglued in the final game, spraying two shots long to fall behind 15-30. He pulled even with a winner but was wide with a ground stroke that was unsuccessfully challenged, setting up the first break point opportunity of the set.

The Swiss star launched a ball well long to give Tsonga the opening set in 44 minutes.

Tsonga kept the pressure on in the second set and had a break point chance with a 3-2 lead. Federer answered with an ace and fought back for the hold.

The Frenchman then had a great chance with a 4-3 lead in the second set and a double-break point. However, Federer answered with two straight points to get to deuce.

Tsonga had two more break point chances later in the game but Federer saved them both and then held with an ace.

In the tiebreaker, Tsonga picked up a mini-break at 4-3 and took the next three points for the victory.

He earned US$598,900 for winning the $3.78-million tournament while Federer received $293,650 as the finalist.

Earlier, Bruno Soares of Brazil and Alexander Peya of Austria successfully defended their doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil.

Notes: It was Tsonga’s first final appearance since losing to Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis last February in Marseille. His only previous Masters 1000 title came in Paris back in 2008. … Tsonga improved to 5-11 in head-to-head matchups against Federer. Three of his wins have come in Canada. Tsonga also defeated Federer in the quarter-finals at Montreal in 2009 and again in the third round two years later. … Federer is a two-time Rogers Cup champion. His previous victories came in 2004 and 2006.