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Sunday September 23, 2012

Defending champion Tsonga happy to be in semis

METZ,: Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France overcame a slow start to beat Jesse Levine 6-3, 6-4 on Friday and reach the Moselle Open semi-finals.

The first five games were tightly contested and took 35 minutes to complete, with the American saving seven break points before the top-seeded Tsonga broke back and held for 3-2.

“I had to be fully focused because Jesse was in good shape,” Tsonga said. “I’m happy with how I played and happy to reach the semifinals, even though I’m still making a few mistakes.”

Levine’s resistance started to crumble after that and Tsonga broke him again before wrapping up the first set with an ace. Tsonga then hit five aces in a comfortable second set where he faced no break points.

He faces eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko in the last four after the Russian beat Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.

Tsonga is looking for his second title of the year after winning in Doha in January, where he beat Gael Monfils in the final. He is eighth overall in the race to determine the eight players who will qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Tsonga could potentially face Monfils again in another final today.

Monfils had earlier beaten second-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first semi-final since February.

Making his return at the indoor tournament in Metz after several months out with a knee injury, Monfils broke Kohlschreiber for the sixth time in the match before clinching victory on serve.

“I’m feeling the strain, but I want to rise above the tiredness and the pain,” Monfils said.x

The Frenchman next faces fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy, who had a more comfortable 7-5, 6-2 win against Florian Mayer of Germany.

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