Jo-Wilfried Tsonga edged Gilles Simon 7-6 1-6 6-2 to secure his third Moselle Open title and bolster his chances of securing a berth in year-ending World Tour Finals.
The 30-year-old was able to hold his nerve, staving off seven of the nine break points faced and bounced back after the second set hiccup to complete his 12th tour-level title in two hours and 16 minutes.
In the process, Tsonga also avenged his 2013 final loss at the same event to Simon in straight sets. By doing so, he earned 250 ranking points to keep himself in contention to secure a position in the coveted eight-man World Tour finals to be played in November.
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He is currently 1105 points off the eighth place and holds the 15th slot in the ATP Race to London.
The 2008 Australian Open runner-up got off to a nervy start and had to rely on his big serving to get himself out of jail. He expunged six break points in the opening set, with three booming aces, to force a tiebreaker.
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Trailing 5-2 in the tiebreaker, Tsonga once again had to dig deep and rallied to capture five points straight to claim the first set.
His concentration wavered in the second though and a flurry of errors handed the initiative to Simon, who broke Tsonga twice to force the match to a decider.
However, Tsonga gathered himself and calmed his jittery nerves with an early service break, breaking the Simon serve one more time and converted his second match point to complete his third tournament triumph at Metz, to go with his title winning runs in 2011 and 2012.
Following his win, the Frenchman expressed his elation on recording his first title win of the year, but also reserved words of admiration for Simon.
He said: “I'm really happy to win again here in Metz. I like the welcome I get here and to win this year is great. It's my first of the year and I hope it will continue. It's a good achievement for me.
"Gilles is very difficult to play against. You need energy with each ball you play against him. He's a good defender and is always ready to play passing shots. When I play against him it's always tough.”
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