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Tsonga vs Herbert ATP Montpellier live streaming, preview and tips: French stars clash for Open Sud de France title

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 9 Feb 2019
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert is live from Montpellier at 2.30pm local time on Sunday (1.30pm GMT)
  • Tsonga has won both of their previous meetings in straight sets
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Former top 10 star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga targets a 17th career title on Sunday when he takes on countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the Open Sud de France final in Montpellier.

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For the seventh time in the last nine years, there will be a French champion in Montpellier - but will it be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Pierre-Hugues Herbert? A resurgent Tsonga is searching for his first title in 15 months after enduring an injury-ravaged 2018 campaign, while Herbert is gunning for a maiden career title after a brilliant start to the 2019 season.

Tsonga has already been forced to navigate his way past three Frenchman on his way to the final, accounting for the rising Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 in the opening round, beating fellow veteran Gilles Simon in straight sets in the second and needing three sets again to dispose of the flashy Jeremy Chardy, once more coming back from a set down and edging the second in a tiebreak before registering a 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 6-4 victory. The 33-year-old had a more comfortable time on court in his semi-final showdown with the diminutive Radu Albot, relinquishing just four games as he won 21 of 25 first serve points to power past the Moldovan 6-1 6-3 in 69 minutes. It was Tsonga’s first semi-final win in Montpellier after three previous defeats in 2010, 2017 and 2018.

"It was a good match from my side, I played good tennis [and was] very aggressive," said Tsonga. "I hope I will be able to play the same tennis tomorrow in the final. I am already happy with what I did this week and I will give my best tomorrow."

A former World No. 5 and Australian Open runner-up, Tsonga enjoyed the bulk of his career success between 2008 and 2014, reaching multiple Grand Slam semi-finals and quarter-finals and winning two ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Paris (2008) and Canada (2014), beating Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer on the bounce to win the latter. Tsonga would go on to make the French Open semi-finals in 2015, reach four more major quarter-finals over the next two years and win four ATP titles in Rotterdam, Marseille, Lyon and Antwerp in 2017, but he was restricted to just 12 matches in 2018 after undergoing knee surgery, which resulted in his ranking plummeting to outside the world’s top 250.

Tsonga returned to action towards the end of 2018, but won just one match in five tournaments, but he’s quite impressive so far in 2019, advancing to the Brisbane International semi-finals (lost to the in-form Daniil Medvedev) and the second round of the Australian Open (lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic) before putting this run to the Montpellier final together. Can her return to the champions corner for the 17th time on Sunday?

Pierre Hugues Herbert (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert will have other ideas. The 27-year-old has compiled a magnificent start to 2019, registering an 8-2 record in singles and 9-0 in doubles, completing the Career Grand Slam at the Australian Open with Nicolas Mahut and winning the Doha title with David Goffin. However, it’s been in the singles arena where Herbert continues to improve at a rapid rate, making the quarter-finals of Doha, the third round of the Australian Open and now the final of Montpellier, where he will be looking to win his first career title after two previous runner-up finishes in Winston-Salem in 2015 and Shenzhen in 2018.


Herbert’s eye-catching serve-and-volley game has been in pristine condition so far this week in Montpellier, with the Frenchman dropping just one set on his way to the final against Ilya Ivashka in the second round. Herbert thumped Denis Kudla 6-2 6-1 in his opener and has since completed superb straight sets victories over rising star Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-6(4) and former champion Tomas Berdych, defeating the Czech 6-2 7-5 in Saturday’s semi-finals.

"I am just really happy about my match today," said Herbert. "It was a tough battle against Tomas and I am really happy to come off the court as the winner in front of my home crowd. Being in a final in France means a lot to me."

Herbert has held 41 of his 44 service games and saved 15 of 18 break points in Montpellier this week, and if he continues those serving numbers, we will likely be in for a very closely fought contest in the final. Tsonga has also been serving well this week, so it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more tiebreaks were involved on Sunday. It’s a tough one to call - Tsonga has swiftly returned to a top 20 or higher level over the first month or so of 2019, while Herbert is improving rapidly and has been playing at a top 20 level himself so far this season. It could come down to a couple of crucial points here and there - who will step up when it matters most to take home the silverware?


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Tsonga vs Herbert ATP Montpellier live streaming, preview and tips: French stars clash for Open Sud de France title

Former top 10 star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga targets a 17th career title on Sunday when he takes on countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the Open Sud de France final in Montpellier.

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