Federer starts title defence with Tsonga win

Five-time champion Roger Federer began his title defence at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round-robin match of Group B at The O2 in London.

Making his 10th straight appearance at the season finale, Federer improved to a 35-7 event record with his sixth win in 10 meetings against Tsonga. Seven days ago, Federer also beat Tsonga in the BNP Paribas Masters final in Paris.

"I thought it was a good first set and even the second set was fine," said Federer. "But he did well to serve bigger and better as the match went on. Once he got the upper hand in the second set, he started to swing more freely and got more dangerous. With me, it was just trying to stay calm, trying to wait for my chance, trying to create chances when he was not serving as well as he did at times.

"It's really hard to get into any sort of rhythm against him from the baseline because he's a very good 1-2 puncher, which he proved over four and a half sets against me at Wimbledon. I think that makes him particularly hard to return sometimes.

"Overall I think I've been trying to do different things this year on my returning, at times a bit more offensive, sometimes a bit more, sort of normal the way I return. But recently I've played well."

Fourth seed Federer swept through the first set in 21 minutes, dropping just three of 19 points on serve. In the 30-minute second set, sixth seed Tsonga lost two points on serve and converted both of his break point opportunities.

The pair's seventh meeting of 2011 went with serve in the deciding set, before Tsonga fell to 0/40 at 4-5. He saved one match point, but Federer was not to be denied as he wrapped up his 60th match win of the season (60-12 overall) in 89 minutes.

Federer is attempting to win his 70th tour-level title this week and third trophy on the bounce after back-to-back wins at the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Nishikori) and in Paris.

Date: 20.11.2011, Source: ATP


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