Stockholm: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych will contest the Stockholm Open final after contrasting semi-final wins on Saturday. Top-seeded Tsonga advanced after 2009 champion Marcos Baghdatis retired with a left groin strain in the deciding set, with Tsonga leading 6-4, 4-6, 5-2.
Second-seeded Berdych recorded a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over third-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Baghdatis picked up his injury at 4-2 in the decider, when he attempted to run down a Tsonga forehand winner on a break point on Tsonga's serve. The Cypriot decided to retire after a medical timeout.
"These things happen sometimes, I hope he recovers fast," said Tsonga, who recorded his fourth win over Baghdatis in as many meetings. "We played some good tennis ... I missed maybe two or three opportunities to finish off the match a bit earlier. But I'm pleased with my performance. I hope I'll be able to play like this (in the final)."
It was the first serious test for Tsonga in his debut in the Swedish capital. He and Berdych are chasing their third title of the year, and a place in the eight-man ATP Finals in London in three weeks. Berdych has a 3-1 edge over Tsonga in head-to-head meetings, coming off a quarter-final win over the Frenchman in Shanghai last week.
"That was a close game decided by one or two points. But conditions here are different, it's indoor with different balls," the Czech said. "He's a tough opponent and a great server. He plays aggressive like I do and you're probably not going to see many long rallies tomorrow."
Almagro was unable to match Berdych's powerful baseline strokes and serves. "I was serving well from the start and when my serve is working, it makes the game easier," Berdych said. "I got a lot of straight points off it and I could really focus on his serve. From beginning to the end, the match was under my style."