Tsonga, Soderling to clash in Rotterdam final | sports | Hindustan Times
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Tsonga, Soderling to clash in Rotterdam final

sports Updated: Feb 13, 2011 14:36 IST

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga denied Ivan Ljubicic a third career final at the ABN-AMRO World Tennis, with the French winner posting a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory on Saturday.

The Frenchman will now have to try to reverse his luck after losing all three of his matches against Sunday finals opponent Robin Soderling, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Serb Viktor Troicki.

"I have to stay focused. I have done that for four matches this week," said holder Soderling, who has never lost a set against Tsonga.

"When you come to a place where you have played well before, it brings good memories. It's all about confidence. I have one more match, and I plan to give it my all."

Soderling, fifth in the world, improved to a solid 12-1 this season after starting 2011 with the Brisbane title.

Tsonga, his ranking down to 18th after injuries and down-time during 2010, will compete in his first ATP final since October 2009. The eighth seed owns five ATP trophies.

Tsonga admitted he needed some adjustment time on court after going through his quarter-final Friday without firing a shot, due to the illness pullout of opponent Tomas Berdych.

Ljubicic, 31, ranked 15th, lost the Rotterdam finals in 2005 to Roger Federer and in 2007 to Mikhail Youzhny, the losing finalist a year ago to Soderling.

Tsonga said that his serve, which produced seven aces, was key to his game on the day.

"I served well today, but I was tight at the start. Ivan does not give you any rhythm. He is always difficult to play. I am just really happy to get into the final."

Ljubicic is a longtime presence at the Ahoy stadium and was playing the event for the ninth time. He lost the first set on a break of serve, but was broken to love as he tried to serve to level the match with a 5-3 lead in the second set.

Tsonga eventually took the match into a tiebreaker and advanced on his second match point.