Following an exciting week of action, the Rogers Cup in Toronto will culminate with 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer hunting for his third title at the event when he meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has looked his best in years over the past week. This will mark the 16th time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the Federer vs Tsonga Head to Head poised at 11-4.
Federer got off to his usual scintillating start, winning his first two games to love and threatening Lopez’s serve early. While he was unsuccessful in the first attempt, Federer broke in the fourth game after six missed break point opportunities in marathon game. He would extend the lead to 4-1 moments later, losing just one point on serve. Federer would remain dominant on serve for the remainder of the set and simultaneously threatened Lopez with break point opportunities (10 in the first set alone) on the Spaniard’s serve.
The troubles only got worse for Lopez, who hit two double faults and missed an outrageously simple forehand passing shot to hand Roger the break at the start of the second set. He maintained that lead and closed out the match less than 20 minutes later.
“I think [Lopez] was probably mentally a bit tired this week. He’s played a lot of good guys in the spell of a short period of time. He played one more match than I did, and back-to-back three setters the last couple of nights,” Federer added. “He was probably feeling it there.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his streak of dominance at the Rogers Cup, following up on his victories over Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with a straight sets win over Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday afternoon. Tsonga won 88% of his firs service points and won 45% of the return points for his commanding victory on Stadium court.
The first set was an interesting one dominated by big serving Frenchman, who pressured Dimitrov from the get-go with the hopes of finding the crucial break. A poor game from the Bulgarian would see Tsonga take the break for a 5-4 lead. The final game of the set was by far the most intriguing one, as Tsonga saved four break points before hitting an ace to seal the set. While Tsonga was serving just 49% of his first serves, he only lost 3 of those points, effectively leaving his younger opponent with just a play on his second serve.
Brimming with confidence from his lead in the match, Tsonga resumed his aggressive gameplan and immediately pressured Dimitrov’s serve. He would break the talented youngster to love in the third game of the set and it appeared that Dimitrov simply had no answers for his seemingly unstoppable opponent. Through the first four games of the second frame, Dimitrov won just 8/25 points and just 1 point on Tsonga’s serve.
While Dimitrov would clean up his act over the next few service games, he would simply have no answer for Tsonga’s intimidating serves and eventually was broken again to lose the match in 1 hour and 24 minutes.
This marks the 16th time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Federer leading the series 11-4. Federer won the two most recent encounters, which took place at the Australian Open and Monte Carlo this season. Tsonga’s last hard court win over Federer was in Doha in 2012. While the Frenchman is just 3-9 against the world No. 3 on hard court, he is in a prime position to lift the Rogers Cup for the first time in his career after a remarkable week at the Masters 1000 event. If he can continue his serving dominance, the tournament could see its first ever French champion.
“[Tsonga] can overpower guys, serve up a storm and then play really aggressive with his forehand and also be solid in his backhand,” Federer noted. “You think you’re in a safe place in the rally, and he takes one step and just hits it and the point is over. That’s why he’s been in the Top 10 for so long.”
Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Three Sets