Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are set to collide in the final of the Open 13 in Marseille, France.
In their semifinal matches, Berdych and Tsonga dropped a combined seven games to take out Dmitry Tursunov and Gilles Simon respectively.
At stake for both men is 250 ranking points and just over 95,000 euros.
Head to Head: Berdych leads 4-1 (2-1 on indoor hard courts)
Last Meeting: 2012 World Tour Finals Round Robin- Berdych d. Tsonga 7-5 3-6 6-1
Career Titles: Berdych- 8; Tsonga- 9
Odds: Berdych -163; Tsonga +120 (Berdych slight favorite)
Berdych and Tsonga have a penchant for producing colossal force off the forehand side. On an indoor court, the speeds of their forehands are enhanced and made even more lethal than what would be seen on any other surface. Both men will look to play first strike tennis and take the initiative as frequently as possible.
Other than Rafael Nadal, these are the only two players to have defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon since 2003 and is in large part due to the overwhelming power they can create off their forehands.
Tomas Berdych's backhand is virtually unblemished and in my opinion, is his stronger wing. While he'll be producing more winners off his forehand side, his backhand side is significantly more reliable due to its simplicity.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's backhand has and continues to be his primary weakness. The Frenchman has a compact swing but tends play the ball to tightly to his body and doesn't allow his body to move concurrently with his racket thus creating a situation where his contact point is too far out in front of his body. In addition, his motion is very rigid and tense as opposed to a player like Djokovic who is free flowing and loose off the backhand.
Both Berdych and Tsonga have fantastic serves and can litter up the stat sheet with aces. To get an idea of how effective and how close these guys are with their serves, look no further than 2012. In 2012, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hit 653 aces in 76 matches and Tomas Berdych hit 649 aces in 77 matches. In addition, Tsonga won 76 percent of his first serve points in 2012 while Berdych won 77 percent of his first serve points. I think Tsonga does slightly more with his second serve which could prove vital as both men can really tee off on what is usually the weakest shot throughout the duration of a point.
Return of Serve: Even
Tsonga and Berdych have decent return of serves but are nothing to marvel at. I won't get too much into the stats, but Tsonga and Berdych are very close in terms of their return statistics but neither is at the top of any return statistic. With that said, neither guy is shy in terms of taking advantage of their opponents second serves.
Bedych isn't poor by any means at the net but he doesn't come in too often preferring to dictate and aggress from the baseline. In contrast, Tsonga is much more proactive in regards to utilizing an all court game. The Frenchman is an excellent closer and is not afraid to serve and volley. His ability to abridge the distance between the baseline and the net, his quick hands, and overall flexibility make him a potent threat moving forward. Tsonga's net prowess was on display in the 2012 Olympics where he and partner, Michael Llodra, won the silver medal losing to the Bryan Brothers in the Gold Medal Match.
Tsonga is the far more athletic, faster, and flexible player. As a result, he'll be less inclined than Berdych to dictate from the middle of the court as he can rely on his speed and court coverage if need be. In supplement, Tsonga's defense is catalyzed by his court coverage.
Not only does Berdych lead the head to head in this matchup by a significant margin but he matches up very well with Tsonga. One particular shot that will be particularly advantageous for Berdych is his inside out forehand as it will be driven right into Tsonga's weakness. In addition, on a surface where errors can come in bunches, Berdych is definitely less likely to self destruct especially off the forehand.
Prediction: Berdych to take out Tsonga in three sets and capture his ninth career title.