Canada Flashback: Roger Federer loses tight final to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga



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Canada Flashback: Roger Federer loses tight final to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Roger Federer struggled to find his usual form in 2013, winning only one title for the first time since 2001. The Swiss bounced back a year later, finishing the 2014 season with over 70 wins and five ATP crowns on his tally, including the Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati and Shanghai.

Also, Federer advanced into five other finals, falling on the last step at Wimbledon, Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and Toronto. On August 10, Roger suffered a tight 7-5, 7-6 loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the Canada Masters, with the Frenchman delivering the fifth victory against Roger in 16 encounters.

Toronto 2014 stands among the best tournaments that Jo-Wilfried has ever played, claiming three top-10 triumphs against Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray to march into the final and dropping serve only against the Briton.

There was nothing wrong with Tsonga's serve in the title match against Roger Federer, too, giving away only 15 points behind the initial shot and never offering break chances to the Swiss. Federer was powerless against the rival's first serve (taking miserable two out of 35 points), failing to at least prolong the clash after saving six out of seven break chances.

They had the same number of winners, and Tsonga tamed his shots more efficiently after spraying 18 unforced errors while Roger counted to 37, too much for a more favorable result. Jo-Wilfried won 14 points more than his rival and overpowered Federer 66-57 in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes.

He also had a 22-17 advantage in the mid-range rallies, while nothing could separate them in those points that passed the ninth shot, with four points for each. Tsonga held in the opening game with a forehand winner, and Roger got his name on the board with a service winner in the next one.

It was important for the Frenchman to stay in touch in those early games, and he certainly did that, holding at love in game three and again at 2-2 when he blasted four winners.

In Toronto 2014, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga prevailed against Roger Federer.

Federer was there to fight and fired three winners in game six for 3-3 after just 16 minutes, with nothing to separate them.

The only thing missing in Jo-Wilfried's game was his first serve, and Federer reached deuce on the return in game seven, denied by two booming serves from Tsonga, who moved 4-3 ahead and mounted the pressure on the other side of the net.

Jo-Wilfried landed four service winners in game nine, and Roger responded with a volley winner for 5-5 before moving 30-0 ahead on the return in game 11 for the first chance in the return games. With no room for errors, Tsonga escaped and brought the game home with a service winner, forcing Roger to serve to stay in the set.

After 42 minutes, the first break of serve was on the horizon when Federer's backhand landed long, allowing Tsonga to convert a break chance after a forehand error from the Swiss to grab the opener 7-5. Roger could not find the pattern to solve Jo-Wilfried's serve, and the Frenchman held at 15 to open the second set in style, doing the same in game three for a 2-1 advantage.

Three winners in game five kept Jo-Wilfried in front, and he reached deuce on the return a few minutes later after his opponent's backhand error. Federer saved a break chance with an ace down the T line for a crucial hold, but Jo-Wilfried had no intentions of stopping down in his games, jumping into a 4-3 lead and hoping for more opportunities on the return.

They came in the next one after Roger's double fault, and the Swiss repelled four break chances with winners and completed a marathon game with an ace to boost his comeback odds. Nonetheless, Tsonga was yet to put a foot wrong behind the initial shot, firing two service winners to finish the ninth game and earning the match point a few minutes later.

Federer repelled it with a well-constructed attack and held after numerous deuces and Jo-Wilfried's backhand error to survive and level the score at 5-5. Tsonga showed no sign of nerves, though, delivering four winners to take a 6-5 lead before Federer painted a forehand down the line winner to set up a tie break, a must-win one for him.

The first advantage for the returner came in the seventh point when Roger hit a loose backhand, with three match points up for grabs for the Frenchman after two winners on his serve. Jo-Wilfried needed only one to seal the deal when Federer netted a backhand, winning the breaker 7-3 and celebrating the first Masters 1000 crown since Paris 2008.