|It was Federer’s third tournament win of the year after Doha in January and Basel last week [EPA]|
A resurgent Roger Federer swept past local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 7-6 to clinch his maiden Paris Masters title on Sunday and send a deafening warning to his rivals ahead of the ATP World Tour finals.
Swiss third seed Federer, who moved to one shy of Rafa Nadal’s record of 19 Masters titles with a stunning display of sheer brilliance, became only the second player with titles in Roland Garros and Bercy – the two men’s Paris tournaments.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” Federer, who captured his 69th career title from 99 finals, said at the courtside.
Tsonga brushed aside suggestions he was tired after spending almost three hours on court in Saturday’s semi-final victory over American John Isner and said Federer had deserved to win.
“I think he did a good start and after that he played more relaxed, it was easier for him,” Tsonga told a news conference. “Today I felt good but Roger was just better than me. I was in a good shape.
“I did not play very well all week, it was not my best tennis. I was a bit better today but against a player like Roger it is surely not enough.”
Federer has had a mediocre season by his standards with the 16-times grand slam champion having won only one tournament going into November.
He is now on a 12-match winning streak, after his title in Basel last week and two Davis Cup wins in September, just before the ATP World Tour finals at London’s O2 from November 20 to 27.
Federer had been facing the prospect of failing to win either a grand slam or a Masters title for the first year since 2001.
His focused, steady attitude contrasted with Tsonga’s muttering and the former world number one’s sharp first serve proved too much for the sixth seed to handle as he became the second player after Andre Agassi to win both Paris tournaments.
Tsonga, who won his only Masters title at Bercy in 2008, had two break points in the first game but Federer used his first serve to hold him off.
The Swiss moved 4-0 up after a return sent wide and a double fault earned him a double break as a frustrated Tsonga struggled for ideas in front of a home crowd of 14,500.
Federer was already one set up when the clock ticked past the half-hour mark.
Tsonga, however, fought back in the second, earning a break point in the fourth game with a sizzling crosscourt passing shot, but blew his chance by sending a forehand wide.
Tsonga faced a break point in the 10th game but staved it off at the net and the contest went into a tiebreak.
Federer kept his cool and went 4-0 up, winning it 7-3 on his third match point when Tsonga fired a forehand long after one hour 26 minutes, losing to the Swiss for the fourth time in six meetings this year.