Tsonga wears crown

Tsonga wears crown

Kanepi captures Brisbane International title

 France's world number six Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday.

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi holds aloft the Brisbane International title  after crushing Daniela Hantuchova in the final on Saturday. AFP

Tsonga had eased into the final with a walkover in the semis against Roger Federer, who pulled out with a back problem but was optimistic of being fit for the Australian Open which starts on Jan 16.

Monfils had seen off world number two Rafael Nadal in the semis.

In Brisbane, a merciless Andy Murray subjected Australia’s Bernard Tomic to a 6-3, 6-2 thrashing on Saturday to deflate local fans and set up an intriguing final with Alexandr Dolgopolov at the Brisbane International.

World number four Murray had ended Dolgopolov’s barnstorming run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last year and appears in fine fettle for the re-match after disposing of Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tomic with clinical efficiency.
After trading baseline blows for the opening games at the Pat Rafter Arena, Murray pounced at 4-3 in the first set to break his 19-year-old opponent, then raced to a 2-0 lead in the second.

Tomic took a medical time-out at 2-1 to have his foot strapped but the break did little to stall Murray’s momentum as the Briton wrapped up the match in 69 minutes, bullying his young opponent with strong serving and blasting winners from all angles.
Murray will meet Dolgopolov after the pony-tailed Ukrainian ground down Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4 in the first semifinal earlier on Saturday.

Dolgopolov, who pushed Murray to four sets in a tension-charged quarterfinal at Melbourne Park last year, also showed promising form, breaking Simon twice to wrap up the first set comfortably before holding him off in the tighter second set.

The 23-year-old had to take a medical time-out when leading 3-2 in the second and had his right leg massaged by a physiotherapist but returned to close out the match with a pair of blistering forehands down the line.

In the women’s final, hard-hitting Estonian Kaia Kanepi steamrolled Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1 to win her second WTA title.

The 26-year-old Kanepi needed only 73 minutes to dispose of a listless Hantuchova, whose path to the final had been cleared by injuries to opponents Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters.

Czechs triumph

Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych produced some impeccable tennis to give the Czech Republic the Hopman Cup with a 2-0 win over France in the final at Perth on Saturday.

Kvitova saw off Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the opening match and then Berdych defeated Richard Gasquet 7-6, 6-4 to take an unassailable lead in the tie.  With the result decided, the mixed doubles match did not go ahead.

Final washed out

The Auckland Classic singles final between China's Zheng Jie and Italian Flavia Pennetta has been put off until Sunday due to persistent rain showers, tournament organisers said.

Cilic ruled out

Former semifinalist Marin Cilic has ruled himself out of this year’s Australian Open, tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed on Saturday in Melbourne.

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