By Phoebe Ho
TORONTO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- There's just one more match sitting between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and his first Rogers Cup title after the No. 13 seed defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday.
Tsonga defeated the Bulgarian superstar for the fifth time in a dominating two-setter where he hit seven aces, won 88 per cent of his first service points and saved all four breakpoints to beat the No. 7 seed in an 84-minute match.
Despite a sluggish start in the opening set with Tsonga sticking to the baseline, things quickly picked up for the Frenchman as he held serve and tied the set 3-all before taking a one-point lead.
Some missed opportunities and unforced errors later, Tsonga ended up fending off four breakpoints and rode one service break to a decisive 6-4 win in the opening set.
"You have your chances. Today things were just not leaning on my side," said Dimitrov. "You have a couple of chances. You couldn't make the break. That of course caused a lot of -- everything starting to be tougher for you, especially against a big server like Jo."
"He came up with the goods today when he needed to, and basically that was it, and I didn't think I played good tennis," he added.
Again in the second set, Tsonga was off to a slow start, but the Frenchman's punishing ground put some pressure on Dimitrov to get the game at triple break point. Tsonga broke Dimitrov at love to lead 2-1.
It's been a long week for Dimitrov, who had to battle his way through a string of three-setters - including a three-hour match against Kevin Anderson the day before - to get to the quarters, and it seemed to take its toll on the Bulgarian in the final set.
"It's not an easy loss for me considering that I had played such a good match yesterday," said Dimitrov. "I thought he (Tsonga) played a good match, but I think I didn't raise up the bar, didn't raise up the level the way I wanted to."
Back-to-back aces from Tsonga and an unforced error on Dimitrov's part gave Tsonga a three-point lead in the final set. Tsonga took advantage of the opportunity to claim the set at match-point and booked a spot in the finals.
It's been a big week for the Frenchman, who reached only one final this season on home soil. But his victories against both world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the eighth-seeded Andy Murray at Rogers Cup has more than made up for it, he said.
"I always believe it myself during all these years, and all this week where I lost against those guys and finally I get a little rewards for the moment of this, and, you know, it's good for me," said Tsonga. "It will for sure make me stronger, keep my motivation at the highest level and it's great."
The finals could prove difficult for him though if the second-seeded Roger Federer wins against Feliciano Lopez on Saturday night. But even with Federer leading 11-4 in their head-to-head matches, Tsonga's not shying away from the challenge.
"I would like to face Roger just because it's always an honer for me to play against him in such a good area. Yeah, it can be one of the biggest victories for me if I am able to beat him," he said.