MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came through a stern test against 117th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff to win 7-6 (4), 7-5 Saturday, setting up an Open 13 final against third-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia after he upset top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-2.
Tsonga was pressured by the German player in both sets. The Frenchman saved five break points in the first set. Struff broke his opponent at the start of the second set, before saving three break points of his own in the next game.
But Tsonga's experience told when he broke Struff twice at the end of the second set to reach his 19th career final, where he will bid for an 11th title. He leads 3-1 in career head-to-heads against Gulbis, who has won all four of his previous finals.
In beating Gasquet for the first time at his third attempt, Gulbis had 15 aces and proved clinical on Gasquet's normally strong serve, converting three of his four break-point chances. "Today was very good. Everything was working: serve, backhand," Gulbis said. "I was a bit tired from yesterday, so I just tried to keep the points short and I felt so good doing that."
It was a frustrating afternoon for Gasquet, who again fell at the semifinal stage after his defeat to countryman Gael Monfils at the Open Sud de France in Marseille earlier this month. "It was very difficult for me. He was just better," Gasquet said. "On a fast surface like this, it's very tough to play against somebody like Ernests. He was just more powerful than me and didn't have any weakness. I didn't have any chances, not a single break point."