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. Tsonga is in his second straight final, having won the title in Rotterdam last week and will face the winner of the second semifinal between his countrymen Richard Gasquet and Lucas Pouille.
Tsonga takes close first set tiebreak
Two players with big serves and groundstrokes made for an ideal matchup on the indoor hard court of Marseille and both men were dominant on serve to start the match, losing a combined four points in five service games.
It would be Tsonga who had the first chances to break, holding a 0-40 lead on the Kyrgios serve, the Aussie getting out of trouble with big serving and he would use that momentum to break in the ninth game, a backhand-forehand combination giving him a 5-4 lead.
Tsonga would respond, breaking back and after each man held again, the set went to a tiebreak. The crucial point of the tiebreaker was when Kyrgios missed a forehand long, Tsonga doing well to block the serve back into play and he led 4-2, which was extended to 6-3 and on the third time of asking, the second seed wrapped up the opening set.
Kyrgios dominates second set
The 2016 champion needed a response and he got it in the fourth game when he held 15-40 on Tsonga's serve. After the second seed saved the first break point, Kyrgios produced a sublime drop shot to convert and take a 3-1 lead.
Affirming his status as front-runner in set two, the Aussie held twice more for a 5-2 lead and gained a second break on his third chance when Tsonga's backhand was well wide, forcing a third and deciding set.
Tsonga edges out third set to reach final
The pivotal moment in the final set came early on, Tsonga with 30-40 on the reigning champion's serve after a Kyrgios double fault. A wide serve saved the first break point, but when a second opportunity came around, a well-executed backhand chip up the line gave the Frenchman a 2-1 lead.
Tsonga would have another chance to break in Kyrgios' next service game, the Aussie doing well to hang on to his serve. He pushed the second seed to deuce in the sixth game, but made no progress. He closed out the match with a backhand volley winner to reach his second straight final.