JO-WILFRIED Tsonga completed a brilliant week’s work when he defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto last night.
The big Frenchman, who had beaten Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov en route to the final, beat the Swiss 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) to claim a notable triumph ahead of the US Open later this month. Tsonga had been seeded 13 going into the tournament, and finished off Federer in a one hour and 47 minutes for one of his best career triumphs.
In the women’s version of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska tamed Venus Williams 6-4 6-2 in the final.
The first win of the season for Radwanska, it provided a timely jolt of confidence going into Flushing Meadows and the year’s final grand slam with 11 of her 14 career titles having come on hard courts.
“One of my biggest titles,” said Radwanska, who has registered a long line of firsts for tennis in her country, including Poland’s first grand slam finalist and first Pole to win a WTA Tour title. “As you can see the draw had pretty all top players. So very, very special title for me. I think she [Williams] played great tennis the whole week, playing and beating a lot of good players on the way to the final. I think I am even happier to beat Venus when she’s really on fire.”
Williams, a twice US Open champion, will also be buoyed by her performance in Montreal with a projected return on Monday to the world rankings top 20 for the first time since March 2013.
The tournament also pushed Williams past the $30 million in earnings, joining an elite club that includes her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova.
“I totally wanted to be in the top 20 like earlier this year,” said Williams. “I’ve been having goals. It’s always a goal in mind for myself and hopefully most tennis players. I would love to hit the top 16 and just keep going forward after that.”
After a grinding and emotional three-set win over top-ranked sister Serena in Saturday’s semi-finals, the 34-year-old appeared to have little left against an energetic and focused opponent almost ten years her junior.
“It’s been a really long week, I played like six matches in a row,” said Williams. “Against her you really have to be patient. I just fell a little short today. I wanted to give more but I just didn’t have it. I really would like to think under circumstances where I could give everything I have, that the results could have been a little different.
“She just was a little too good today.”
Radwanska took control early on a sunny centre court, breaking Williams twice to race in front 4-1.
Williams would break back but the world No 5 would not buckle and easily took the opening set. She opened the second set with another deflating break to quickly put the pressure on Williams and then broke the dejected American again to go 5-2 up before holding serve and finishing off with an emphatic ace.
“I was playing much better every match,” said Radwanska. “I didn’t start that well from my first match. I think every match was much better. That’s why I think I sitting right here now.”
Meanwhile, Heather Watson and James Ward both booked spots in the main draw of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with impressive wins. British No 1 Watson will return to the top 50 on Monday after making the third round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto earlier this week. Her run included a second-round victory over world No 12 Dominika Cibulkova, the joint best win of her career on ranking.
Watson has taken that form with her to Cincinnati and from 1-3 won 11 straight games to defeat Israel’s Shahar Peer 6-3 6-0. Ward only made it into qualifying as an alternate but has more than justified his place with back-to-back victories over top-100 players.
Ward saw off former world number 12 Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (10/8) 7-5.