METZ, France: Second-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon won the 11th title of his career when he outplayed top seed and compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the ATP Metz Open.
Simon, whose summer has been plagued by whooping cough and its after-effects, only entered the tournament on a wildcard.
In beating Tsonga, the world number eight who was playing his first tournament for almost three months after a knee injury, Simon became the fourth player this season to win a tournament on a wildcard invite after Argentina’s Juan Monaco in Duesseldorf, France’s Nicolas Mahut in Newport (USA) and Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro in Washington.
Simon’s 11th title draws him level with Guy Forget for career wins by Frenchmen, still far off the 23 won by Yannick Noah.
In Saint Petersburg, Russia, Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis battled back from a set down to win the fourth title of his career in beating Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the Saint Petersburg ATP final yesterday.
The 25-year-old Gulbis, who was seeded sixth, won 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 to record his second win over Garcia-Lopez in their third meeting.
Spanish veteran Garcia-Lopez, 30, got the better of a raft of breaks in the first set and broke early in the second before racing into a 4-1 lead.
But he failed to win another game as world number 36 Gulbis found another gear and reeled off 11 straight games to storm to victory as Garcia-Lopez ran out of steam.
Gulbis pocketed a $78,000 (57,700 euros) winner’s purse, while Garcia-Lopez earned $41,000.
Gulbis promised to return next year to defend his title.
“I wanted to win this event very much and it was the reason I battled for every single point in today’s final,” Gulbis said. “I’m really happy to win this event as Saint Petersburg is one of my most beloved cities and I’ll be happy to come here next year to defend my title.”
Meanwhile in Seoul, Korea, Polish top seed Agnieszka Radwanska came from behind to beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-7 (6) 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Korea Open in Seoul to bag her third WTA title of the year yesterday.
Radwanska’s victory in the gruelling final, which lasted two hours and 45 minutes, also gave the 24-year-old world number four her 13th career title.
Pavlyuchenkova, who lost to Radwanska in the US Open last month as well, came back after losing the first three games and saved four set points to eventually win the opening set in the tie-breaker.
Radwanska wrested back control after breaking the third-seeded Russian early in the second set and closed out the match with a break in the 10th game of the deciding set. AGENCIES