Vienna | Tsonga and Pouille make it an All-French final
Despite some gutsy exchanges, Lucas Pouille proved too strong a player for Britain’s No.3 Kyle Edmund as the pair fought for a place in the final of the Vienna Open.
Edmund took the opening set on a tie-break but the Frenchman hit back to win a hard-fought contest 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes.
Pouille had to save six break points in the opening set before racing into a 4-0 lead in the tie-break, the 23-year-old producing a brilliant backhand return winner down the line and benefiting from a double fault from the Briton.
I served really well. It's good, gives me confidence when I can serve like this. Hopefully it will continue like this tomorrow Jo-WlfriedTsonga
Edmund refused to throw in the towel and saved two set points before taking the tie-break 9-7 to move within a set of reaching his first final at ATP World Tour level.
However, the Beverley 22-year-old promptly dropped his serve at the start of the second to allow Pouille back into the match and two more breaks in the decider sealed the outcome.
Pouille fired 36 winners compared to Edmund’s 26, and served 13 aces.
Meanwhile in the second semi- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded eight, made it an All-French final when he toppled Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(4) 7-5.
It was Tsonga’s 10th straight win against the German who who has only defeated the Frenchman on one occasion.
Kohlschreiber actually dictated play for much of the match but Tsonga stepped up in the crucial moments. The German broke Tsonga early and led 2-1 but the Frenchman went on to win six of the next 10 games to take the opener.
There were no breaks in the second set until Tsonga hit a forehand winner at 5-5 to gain an edge. He then closed out the match with a service ace.
“I served really well. It’s good, gives me confidence when I can serve like this,” Tsonga said. “Hopefully it will continue like this tomorrow.”