Tsonga beats Djokovic to win maiden title in Thailand

September 28th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Sep 28 (DPA) Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lifted the first title of his career Sunday defeating Novak Djokovic with a 7-6, 7-4, 6-4 in the Thailand Open final.”No, I didn’t believe that I would win,” confessed the world number 20, playing in only his second tournament since missing three months with knee surgery.

“I played unbelievable, like a dream. But you are obliged to do this against an opponent like Novak. It was a really tough win for me.”

Tsonga’s victory in just over 90 minutes earned his sweet revenge for a loss in his only other final, going down to Djokovic eight months ago in the Australian Open title match.

The Swiss-based French youngster improved to 23-9 on the season.

Tsonga withstood the pressure in the final game after breaking world number three Djokovic for 5-4 in the second set.

The Frenchman saved a pair of break-back points in a row and then one more before Djokovic sailed a return long to lose.

“I couldn’t do it today, I lost to a great player,” said Djokovic, who stands 10-6 in career finals after failing in a bid to claim his fourth trophy of this season.

“But all credit to Jo for winning his first title. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of him. He did a great job today.”

Djokovic was playing Bangkok for the first time in four years after losing in the first round in 2008. Tsonga improved to 5-6 lifetime against Top 10 players.

In the first set, Djokovic claimed the first break of the match in the third game but found himself back on level-pegging as his French opponent squared the contest at 4-4.

The pair exchanged love games in the ninth and tenth for 5-5 before Tsonga kept pace to force a tiebreaker.

The second seed swept ahead 3-0 only to allow Djokovic back in, with Tsonga then squaring a 4-4 with an ace.

Tsonga seized two set points with a drop volley winner and sent an untouchable return to the Serb’s backhand to lift the set after 56 minutes of battle in the opener.

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