September 22, 2012

Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 Saturday to advance to the Moselle Open final, where he will defend his title against fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy.

Seppi rallied past seventh-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach his third final of the season. Seppi and Tsonga will be going for their second titles of the year Sunday. Tsonga won the Qatar Open in January and Seppi won the Serbia Open in May.

"This final means a lot to me because it means I'm back in form," said Tsonga, who has not reached a final since Doha.

Tsonga had lost both his previous matches to Davydenko, both on hard courts, in 2007 and `08.

"It's another era, one when he was also playing a lot better, but I'm happy to have beaten him for the first time," said Tsonga, who will aim for his ninth career title. Seppi bids for his third.

Tsonga enjoyed a lopsided first set, but Davydenko took the second set.

"I didn't take my chances in the second set and he got on top," Tsonga said. "It wasn't easy to come back after that."

The match turned in Tsonga's favor in the ninth game of the third set when he broke Davydenko. Serving for the match, Tsonga won when Davydenko's forehand went out.

Monfils broke Seppi in the sixth game and did not face a single break point in the first set, winning 94 percent of points on his first serve.

"It's always tough against Gael, he is always fighting until the end," Seppi said. "It's never easy to close out the match, especially a semifinal here in France against him."

Monfils, returning after several months out because of a knee injury, then showed signs of tiredness. Seppi stepped up his play in the second set, breaking Monfils twice.

"Even though I haven't been playing much, I still think it was within my reach," Monfils said. "I'm not satisfied. I would have liked to have reached the final, at least."

Seppi saved three breakpoints when serving for the match and clinched victory when Monfils returned high to give him an easy volley at the net.

"It's the best season of my career right now," Seppi said. "Three finals on different surfaces, it means that when I play well I can feel good on any surface."

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