Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France coasted into the final of the Japan Open on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Gael Monfils.
Tsonga broke Monfils with a forehand volley to go up 5-3 in the second set and then closed out the match in just 55 minutes with his ninth ace.
“It was amazing,” Tsonga said. “I did what I wanted to do on the court. It’s always difficult playing against a friend but that’s the way it goes and I’m just happy to be in the final.”
Tsonga will face Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny in Sunday’s final at Ariake Colosseum.
“It will be a tough match,” Tsonga said. “Mikhail has been playing well all week but so have I.”
Tsonga will be looking to add to titles he won this year at Johannesburg and Marseille.
Unseeded Youzhny had 10 aces on his way to a 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 over Lleyton Hewitt in Saturday’s other semifinal.
“That’s the best tennis I’ve played for a long, long time,” Youzhny said. “There were good games before, but just one game. Here, all my games have been at a high level.”
Youzhny broke Hewitt in the final game when the eighth-seeded Australian hit two successive backhands into the net.
It was Youzhny’s first win over Hewitt in four matches.
“I didn’t have a chance to break him until the final game,” Youzhny said. “He was at 40-15 and I was able to put some good points together.”
Sunday’s final will be Youzhny’s second of the year. He reached the final of the BMW Open in Munich in May, losing to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. The Russian’s last singles title came at Chennai, India at the start of 2008.
Top-ranked Roger Federer pulled out of the $1.2 million event, citing fatigue, along with third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain, who withdrew because of a wrist injury.