(Updates to add Federer comment in third paragraph, match detail throughout.)
Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Federer beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a record sixth title at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals.
Playing in his 100th career final, Federer defeated the sixth-ranked Tsonga of France, 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 at London’s O2 arena. It was Federer’s 70th tournament victory since he turned pro in 1998. At 30, he’s the oldest man to win the year- end title since Ilie Nastase in 1975.
“I couldn’t be more happy, I couldn’t be more exhausted, Jo sucked all the energy out of me,” Federer told a sellout crowd of 17,500 after he lifted the trophy.
The fourth-ranked Federer didn’t have to play any of other three men in the top four this weekend. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain and third- ranked Andy Murray of Britain all left the tournament for the top eight singles players in the world in the group stages. Djokovic and Nadal told reporters they were mentally and physically tired at the end of a long season, while Murray withdrew after his opening round with a groin strain. Federer returns to the No. 3 spot in the rankings tomorrow.
Federer had seemed on the way to a quick straight-sets victory against Tsonga after he won the first set and broke serve at 2-2 in the second with a clean forehand return winner down the line. At 5-4, Federer lost his serve as Tsonga hit a forehand volley on his third breakpoint.
In the second-set tiebreak, Federer raced to a 5-2 lead and reached match point with his sixth ace at 6-5. Tsonga saved it with a forehand winner, and then took the set with a forehand return.
In the final set, Federer screamed as he broke serve for a 5-3 lead on his third break point as the Frenchman sent a forehand out wide. Serving once again for the championship, Federer set up three more match points with his 11th ace and won the title with a forehand volley. He lifted both arms after winning his 70th tournament title.
Federer struck 30 winners, while Tsonga had 37. The Swiss made 26 unforced errors, 15 less than his opponent.
The right-hander successfully defended his title having won all his matches in London. He went 3-0 in the group, including a 6-3, 6-0 victory against Nadal that was his most one-sided win against the Spaniard in 26 meetings. Federer, who had also beaten Tsonga in his opening group round in London and during the Paris Masters final two weeks ago, got past Spain’s David Ferrer in the semifinals.
Federer’s victory follows a season during which he failed to win a major title for the first time since 2002. He won the last of 16 Grand Slam tournaments at the 2010 Australian Open.
Tsonga had advanced to the final after beating No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the last four, also in straight sets.
Just like Federer, who has now won 17 consecutive matches including three tournaments since he lost in the U.S. Open semifinals to Djokovic in September, Tsonga also had a strong second half of the season.
The 26-year-old from Le Mans won two indoor titles, in Metz, France and Vienna, and reached the finals in Paris. After finishing runner-up to Djokovic at the 2008 Australian Open finals, Tsonga struggled with injuries. After retiring in the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2010 with a right-hip injury, he was sidelined for three months with a left knee patella tear.
The Frenchman handed Federer one of the toughest losses of his career when he got the better of the six-time Wimbledon champion at the All England Club in June, turning a two sets to love deficit into a five-set win in the quarterfinals. It was the first time Federer had ever lost a match in a major leading two sets to love. Federer has now won 8 of their 11 meetings.
--Editor: Christopher Elser
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