Paris Open 2011 Men’s Singles Final

The 2011 Paris Open men’s singles final was played late last night in Singapore time between No.3 seed Roger FEDERER and No.6 seed Jo-Wilfried TSONGA. The BNP Paribas Masters championship match provided a series of firsts. Federer won his first Paris Open singles title 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) in 1 hour and 26 minutes to win € 454,000 and 1,000 ATP ranking points.

Both Tsonga and Federer were playing in their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 singles final this year. The 1.85m Federer’s victory meant that all 9 Masters 1000 titles in 2011 were won by a Top 4 ranked player for the first time in the history of Masters 1000 tournaments. Tsonga and Federer both qualified for the ATP Tour Finals in London by finishing in the Top 8, so their competing in the Paris final marked the first time in Masters 1000 history that all 9 Masters finals were contested by two current Top 10 ranked players.

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It was certainly Federer’s day as he proved once again that he possesses the qualities of a true champion in being able to bring out his best tennis and perform at a higher level than his opponent, under pressure and at the critical pivotal SWING stages throughout the match in a major singles final. The hometown crowd support for Tsonga boosted the 1.88m Frenchman in the second set, as they wanted a repeat of the 26-year-old’s maiden Masters 1000 title in Paris in 2008.

The charismatic showman provided great entertainment, intensity and flair in the 2nd set and was a whisker of breaking Federer’s serve at 4-3 in the 2nd set when he unleashed a forehand down-the-line on break point beyond the Federer’s reach. The shot was a fraction beyond the baseline otherwise he would have been serving for the 2nd set at 5-3.

The excitement level was rising in the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy on the indoor green and blue Acrylic on Wood hard courts. The 2008 Australian Open runner-up had never been beaten at the Paris Open in his career once the match went to a 3rd and final set. Tsonga has a perfect 6-o record in the final set in front of his home crowd and has a 5-1 near perfect winning record in ATP singles finals on indoor hard courts.

Tsonga moved ahead 6-5 in his surge to force a 3rd set yet the former World No.1 and 16-time Grand Slam singles champion moved back into the zone and played a number of winners especially from his forehand to win his 18th Masters 1000 singles title. Federer became the first man to play in all of the Masters 1000 singles finals in Masters 1000 history, including the current 9 Masters 1000 events plus Hamburg where he won it 4 times before it made way for the Shanghai Open.

Federer is now on a 12 match winning streak after winning in his home town last week in Basel, Switzerland (also indoor hard courts) going into defend his 2010 ATP Tour Finals title in London next week. Federer qualified for the year-end finals for the 10th straight year and is looking to become the first player ever to win 6 year-end finals singles titles. He is currently tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with 5 a piece. Federer became ONLY the second player ever to win the “Paris Diversity Double”, winning the fast paced indoor hard court title at the Paris Open and winning the slow paced clay court singles title at Roland Garros.

Andre Agassi was the other conqueror of the Paris Diversity Double, whom Federer moved ahead of in the Masters 1000 singles titles leader board. Rafael Nadal leads with 19, Federer now has 18 and Agassi finished his career with 17. Federer is pictured above at the contact point for his famous forehand looking especially poised, relaxed yet focused at the 2011 US Open using his WILSON BLX Six.One Tour tennis racquet. 

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Creative Commons License photo credit: mbevis

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