Top seed Andy Murray secured his second title in the Austrian capital with a 6-3, 7-6(6), win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Erste Bank Open final. Murray's Vienna triumph is his seventh title of the year and third in a row after Beijing and Shanghai. This victory takes Murray 425 points away from Novak Djokovic in the race to London rankings.
Murray just had to stay solid as Tsonga racked up the unforced errors to give the Brit an easy early break in both sets. The one break was enough to seal the first set but Tsonga clawed his way back to break for the first time late in the second and force a tiebreak. Tsonga brought out his best too late in the match and Murray continued his impressive play into the tiebreak. After a couple of mini-break exchanges, Murray held on to the crucial last minute break to seal the match with an ace.
Taking control early
Tsonga's aggressive tactics were apparent from the first point as he dictated with his forehand to fire a winner on the return on the first point. Murray won the next four points, sealing the hold with an ace to get the first game on the scoreboard. A terrible serve volley attempt left Murray with two break points. The Frenchman corrected his earlier serve volley miss with two successful attempts to erase the break points. An ace gave Tsonga game point but Murray came out on top of a great rally and Tsonga followed up with a double fault to give the Brit another break point. Murray stayed solid from the baseline to take the point and secure the early break. Murray cruised through a love hold to take a 3-0 lead.
The Frenchman then got his first game on the scoreboard with a well-fought hold. Murray handed Tsonga an opportunity on the return as two loose points leveled them up at 30-30 but the Brit recovered to take the next two points and a 4-1 lead.
Another battling hold kept Tsonga's hope alive as they headed into the latter stages of the first set but chances to take the break back were running out as Murray came through another hold to go a game away from taking the first set.
A double fault from Tsonga at 30-30 gave Murray a set point but a big serve from the Frenchman quickly erased it to take them to deuce. A third double fault for Tsonga on game point kept the game going and another disappeared as he hit a volley into the net. Eventually, the number six seed came through the battling hold to force Murray to serve for the set. The Brit sailed through on serve, crunching an ace to seal the first set 6-3.
Battling for the title
Murray eased his way to two break points in the opening game as Tsonga had a terrible start to the set. The Brit only needed the one to seal the early break as he flattened out the backhand down the line passing shot to secure the lead. The break was consolidated easily as Murray held with no trouble to take a 2-0 lead. There were better signs from Tsonga in his next service game as he held to love to keep hope alive.
Murray replied with a love hold of his own to secure a 3-1 lead. There was no repeat of Tsonga's easy hold of serve in the next game as Murray was gifted a 0-40 lead on return. The Frenchman managed to find his game again claw his way back to deuce with some much better play. An ace gave Tsonga game point but Murray erased it with a backhand down the line passing shot. Another ace brought up another game point for the Frenchman but another passing shot from Murray, this time forehand crosscourt at full stretch, erased it again. The Frenchman kept battling and eventually held on to keep the deficit down to just one game.
The top seed continued sailing through his service games with Tsonga still not yet earning a look at a break point as he took a 4-2 lead. The Frenchman managed to stay in touch with another good hold, a perfectly executed volley sealing game point. A double fault from Murray at 15-15 gave Tsonga an opportunity on the return. An ace leveled them at 30-30 but a great pass from Tsonga gave the sixth seed his first break point of the match. An unexpected error from Murray gave Tsonga the break and brought them level at 4-4. Tsonga was under pressure in the next game as Murray took a 15-30 lead on the return but the Frenchman soaked it up to take the next three points and go one game away from taking the second set.
The pressure immediately switched to Murray as he served to stay in the set. He began with another passing shot winner to get the game off to a good start and held easily to halt Tsonga's momentum slightly. Murray was handed a lead on return in the next game as a forehand shank and a double fault left Tsonga trailing at 15-30, but the Frenchman held strong again to lead 6-5. Murray held to love to take the pair to a tiebreak, wowing the crowd with a couple of incredible points on the way to a tiebreak.
Murray took the first point of the tiebreak with some help from the net as the ball clipped it and went up and around Tsonga at the net to secure the mini-break. Tsonga took the mini-break back and immediately secured a break of his own as he upped the aggression and hammered the ball around the court with his forehand.
The mini-break exchanges continued and Murray took another point on the Tsonga serve and held on to both of his service points easily to lead 4-3. A great volley from Tsonga leveled them at 4-4 as he again used the huge forehands to take control of his points on serve. Murray held on to his next two points on serve to earn a championship point on the return but a big second serve from the Frenchman leveled them at 6-6. An incredible get from Murray gave Murray the mini-break at the crucial moment to earn a championship point on his own serve. An ace sealed a seventh title of the year for the top seed and a second victory in Vienna.