PARIS, France, November 14 – Roger Federer won the Paris Masters for the first time on Sunday by defeating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) in a one-sided final.
It was the Swiss star’s third tournament win of the year after Doha in January and his Basel hometown event last week. It was also his 18th Masters title win, second only to Rafael Nadal who has won 19 times, and the 69th title of his career.
“This is the realisation of a dream for me and it’s been so long that I have been waiting for it,” said Federer after receiving the Paris Masters trophy from the hands of star French basketball star Tony Parker.
“Honestly, I am surprised myself at just how well I am playing.”
Tsonga, the winner here in 2008 and a hugely popular figure with the noisy Bercy Stadium crowd, was aggressive from the start and he immediately had two break points.
The 30-year-old Federer, though, saved them both and then took total command of the match running off five games in a row with two breaks of serve.
The Frenchman finally got off the mark by holding serve at the third attempt, but Federer was easy on serve and he promptly pocketed the first set.
Tsonga looked shell-shocked and frustrated, but he held serve twice to take a 2-1 lead at the start of the second set and finally capitalised on some errors from the Swiss star to put some pressure on his opponent’s serve.
A whipped crosscourt forehand which wrong-footed Federer at the net gave Tsonga break point but he went for broke on his service return with a forehand drive down the line and missed by inches.
Federer duly held serve again to level at 2-2 but he was in trouble again in the eighth game only for what looked initially like a Tsonga winner on the baseline to be called out, much to the anger of the crowd.
Both players held serve from there taking the final into a tie-break which Federer dominated from the start by powering into a 4-0 lead.
The win makes Federer just the second player after Andre Agassi to win both the French Open at Roland Garros, which he took in 2009, and the Paris Bercy title.
Federer failed to add to his career haul of 16 Grand Slam titles this year and he took six weeks off after the US Open, where he lost to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
But the Paris win saw him playing some of the best tennis of his career and sets him up nicely for the ATP Tour finals, where he will be the defending champion, which take place in London from November 22.
Tsonga, who has also qualified for the London tournament, paid a glowing tribute to Federer.
“For me Roger is the best player there is and he will stay that way for some time to come,” he said.