Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Deuce Court: Federer-Tsonga, Paris Masters Final

Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet for the 6th time in 2011 tomorrow in Paris. The Deuce Court will now break it down.

Deuce #1: If you were thinking that Roger Federer was going to become an afterthought after suffering through his first season without a Grand Slam title since 2003, think again. Federer has been excellent since returning to the court in Basel last week. He's won 11 straight matches since the US Open, and today's 6-4, 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych might have been the most impressive of them all. It took 81 minutes, with Federer blasting 34 winners to 13 unforced errors.

Deuce #2: After losing four of his first five matches against Federer, Tsonga recorded one of the most epic wins of his career against him in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Down two sets to love, the charismatic Frenchman found a way to accomplish what had been impossible achieve up until then: He became the first man to come back and beat Federer after trailing by two sets in a Grand Slam (Federer was 178-0).

And, for good measure, Tsonga stormed past Federer in Montreal, scoring a 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 victory at the site of his first career victory over Federer.

Ad In: Federer rebounded nicely in New York, scoring a decisive straight set victory over Tsonga in the quarterfinals. At the time, Federer said "I was returning much better this time around, or his serve wasn't going through the court as much as it did in Wimbledon, and I just felt that I was in control from the baseline."

If that's the case, then the much-talked-about slower courts in Paris might serve to give Federer a boost this time around as well.

Deuce #3: When it comes to confidence, I'm not sure that either player has a decisive edge in this tilt. Both have scored massive wins against the other this season, and both are in fine form. But Tsonga, who was able to fight off three match points in the final set of his thriller against John Isner today, should benefit from the fact that he is playing with house money now, in front of a crowd that, while enamored by Federer, will be in his corner from start to finish.

Ad Out: Federer, who has won 50 or more matches in 10 consecutive years, will be gunning for his first Paris title tomorrow. He has now reached at least the final of all nine masters events.

Deuce #4: Tsonga's only previous masters title came in Paris in 2008; Federer is attempting to win his 18th, which would leave him one behind the all-time masters title winner (Nadal, 19).

Ad Out: Regardless of outcome, Tsonga will rise from No. 8 to No. 6 in the ATP rankings, marking his previous career high.

The Deuce Court's Pick: Federer in two

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