Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to play Lucas Pouille for Marseille Open title

Posted February 27, 2017

Defending champion Nick Kyrgios was eliminated in the semifinals of the Open 13 Provence by second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4.

Victory in the final would mean a career first for Tsonga of back-to-back ATP triumphs and marks a stunning return to form for the 2016 US Open quarter-finalist.

Despite dropping the first set, Kyrgios bounced back and took the second 6-2 with typical flair.

"I've seen referees wait 5-6 seconds after the ball's gone out", Kyrgios said.

Last week, Tsonga won the title in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he came from a set down to beat Belgian David Goffin.

Tsonga improved to a 17-3 record on the season.

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The 21-year-old Australian fired down 15 aces and lost just six points on serve in a ruthless display that lasted less than an hour.

"I wanted to show him I'd be there for each shot", said Tsonga, who will now climb to eighth in the ATP world rankings.

The top seed made it through an enthralling encounter with Juan Martin del Potro, winning 6-3 7-6 (8/6).

By contrast Tsonga enjoyed particular success against Pouille's second serve and broke his opponent's resistance again in the seventh game of the second set to move within two games of victory.

Pouille thumped Gasquet in straight sets and had even been leading 5-0 in the second set. "I tried my best, but he was too good".

And if the third seed wins that, Kyrgios will also face a Frenchman in the final.