Lawn Tennis, Madrid, Lawn Tennis Magazine
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer Fall As France's Own Rises

By Tripp Mateschitz, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Saturday, November 1, 2008 7:13pm PST USA
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer Fall As France's Own Rises, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Lawn Tennis Magazine PARIS--( It won't be another Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer showdown Sunday in Paris at the BNP Paribas Masters final, but France's own Jo-Wilfried Tsonga still is sure to excite the Parisian crowd.

In the championship final, the 13th seeded Tsonga meets the 8th seeded David Nalbandian of Spain. Saturday in the semifinals, Nalbandian defeated the 6th

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga | Photos by AP
BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, France, Lawn Tennis Magazine
“I came onto the court like a tiger, I hit at everything that moved and that made the difference,” Tsonga said.

seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 while Tsonga topped the 11th seeded James Blake of the USA 6-4, 6-3.

“I came onto the court like a tiger, I hit at everything that moved and that made the difference,” Tsonga said. “I had to keep going forward, be more aggressive and start better than I did against Roddick.”

Friday the tournament's draw was rocked as all four quarterfinals saw upsets of the higher of the two seeds in match play. Davydenko stopped top seeded and Wimbledon champion Nadal of Spain 6-1 after Nadal retired after one set of action with a knee injury which could also jeopardize Nadal's participation in the ATP Tour's year ending tournament at Shanghai which begins November 10th.

Blake defeated 2nd seeded and US Open champion Federer in a walkover following the Swiss' withdrawal from the encounter with a stiff back. In other quarterfinal play, Nalbandian defeated the 4th seeded Andy Murray of Britain 7-6(7-3), 6-3 while Tsonga downed the American and 7th seeded Andy Roddick 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(7-5).

Tsonga scored a breakthrough in professional tennis in January as he reached the Australian Open final before losing to Novak Djokovic of Serbia 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7-2). Then in September, the Frenchman took his first career ATP Tour title and gained a sort of revenge as well as he defeated Djokovic in the Bangkok final 7-6(7-4), 6-4.

Known for his powerful, aggressive baseline game and for his uncanny resemblance to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the 23 year old Tsonga has never faced Nalbandian before.

Nalbandian reached the Wimbledon final in 2002 and took ATP Tour titles this year at Buenos Aires and Stockholm. Nalbandian also possesses a very aggressive baseline game which should spark dramatic rallies in the Paris final.

“I have never played against him,” Nalbandian said. “He’s a good player, young and powerful. So it will be tough, but I have to keep believing in my game.”

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