Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his third ATP title at South Africa Open yesterday with a 6-4 7-6 triumph over fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
The Muhammad Ali lookalike, born son of a French mother and Congolese father, won in Bangkok and Paris last year and succeeded in the revived South African tournament without dropping a set in the wholetournament.
But he was taken to the wire by 21-year-old Chardy from the city of Pau in France, appearing in his first ATP final after reaching the fourth round of the French Open last year where he made himself a name to the big public.
“I did a great job this week and am enjoying this moment. I am very happy to have succeeded and look forward to defending my title next year,” world number 14 Tsonga told the capacity 3,000 centre-court crowd.
Chardy was sporting in defeat: “I congratulate Jo-Wilfried for a good match and wish him many more successes this year. It was wonderful to reach the final of an ATP event.”
Tsonga collected 79,000 dollars for winning a championship back on the ATP circuit after a 13-year absence due to a lack of funds while Chardy picked up 41,500 dollars.