Gulbis denies Tsonga another Marseille title


The Sports Network

Marseille, France ( - Ernests Gulbis of Latvia denied crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a second consecutive Open 13 title with a straight-set victory over the Frenchman in Sunday's final.

Gulbis earned a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 triumph for his fifth career title and remained unbeaten in ATP finals. He won twice last year, capturing the Delray Beach crown in March and the St. Petersburg title in September.

"It's a really nice small record for me," said Gulbis about his finals record. "5-0 is really good. I remember when I used to play Futures and Challengers, I think I lost maybe one or two finals. When I get into finals I really have good form and good confidence and play my best tennis. Today I was serving really well and in the tiebreak I was feeling really, really confident."

Seeded third this week, Gulbis beat a trio of Frenchmen on his way to the title. He knocked off Nicolas Mahut in the quarterfinals and top-seeded Richard Gasquet in the semifinals before finishing off the trifecta on Sunday.

Tsonga, who beat Tomas Berdych in last year's Open 13 final and also won the crown in 2009, fell to 10-9 in ATP finals. His lone title last year came at this event.

Gulbis had Tsonga on the ropes numerous times on Sunday with 11 break-point chances. He converted just once, but it was enough. Tsonga failed on each of his two break opportunities, as Gulbis won 77 percent of the points while serving.

"It was a high quality match today and I have no regrets," said Tsonga. "He was very solid and took a lot of risks. Ernests has a great game and can beat the best players in the world."

It was Gulbis' second win in five lifetime meetings with Tsonga. He also beat the Frenchman last year in the second round at Wimbledon.

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