Tsonga beats Karlovic, to play Mur­ray in Vi­enna fi­nal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga saved a match point be­fore beat­ing Ivo Karlovic 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (6) and set­ting up a fi­nal against topseeded Andy Mur­ray at the Erste Bank Open yes­ter­day.

Mur­ray ad­vanced be­cause de­fend­ing cham­pion David Fer­rer pulled out with a left leg in­jury shortly be­fore their semi­fi­nal. Tour­na­ment direc­tor Her­wig Straka said Fer­rer vis­ited a pri­vate clinic, where doc­tors ad­vised him not to play. Fur­ther de­tails on the Spa­niard’s in­jury were not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

Fer­rer al­ready looked ham­pered in Fri­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal, and he com­plained about mus­cle cramps af­ter the 2 1/2-hour match against Ser­bia’s Vik­tor Troicki.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate for him, he must be in quite a lot of pain,” Mur­ray said. “I’ll use to­day as a rest day, prac­tice a lit­tle bit on the cen­ter court.” Mur­ray, who is 6-4 in fi­nals this year, could set a per­sonal best with a sev­enth tour­na­ment win in 2016. He leads Tsonga 12-3 in ca­reer meet­ings and has won the last four matches against the 15th-ranked French­man.

The Scot, who is chas­ing his 42nd ca­reer ti­tle, is on a 13-match win­ning streak af­ter win­ning back-to-back ti­tles in Bei­jing and Shang­hai. He won in Vi­enna on his only pre­vi­ous visit, in 2014.

“I’m ob­vi­ously mo­ti­vated to try and fin­ish the sea­son as strong as I can,” Mur­ray said. “The first cou­ple of matches were re­ally tricky. But now that I get the chance to play for the ti­tle I hope­fully play my best match in the fi­nal.”

In his first fi­nal of the year, Tsonga is aim­ing for his 13th ca­reer ti­tle. He won the event in 2011. The eighth-seeded Karlovic used his only break point on Tsonga’s serve to take the open­ing set. He added an early break in the sec­ond but missed four more chances on the French­man’s serve for a 5-2 lead, be­fore los­ing 10 straight points and drop­ping his serve for a sec­ond time at 5-6.

Tsonga went 4-2 up in the de­cid­ing set but lost his serve in the next game. He saved a match point for Karlovic at 6-5 in the tiebreaker be­fore win­ning the next three points. Karlovic, who won in New­port and Los Ca­bos, missed out on his fourth fi­nal of the sea­son. — AP

VI­ENNA: France’s Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga re­turns the ball to Croa­tia’s Ivo Karlovic dur­ing their semi­fi­nal match at the ATP tennis tour­na­ment in Vi­enna, Aus­tria, yes­ter­day. — AFP

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