Tennis

Tsonga cruises in Stockholm semis

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STOCKHOLM (AP)

Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to earn a place in the Stockholm Open semifinals against 2009 champion Marcos Baghdatis.

The seventh-ranked Frenchman, playing in the Swedish capital for the first time, put on an impressive display of serve and volley tennis to advance.

Leading 5-3 in the second set, Tsonga squandered four match points on Stakhovsky's serve. But on his serve, Tsonga finished with a powerful forehand winner on the fifth match point.

Cypriot Baghdatis edged Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 7-6 (4).

The other semifinal features Spain's Nicolas Almagro and second-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Almagro beat former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6-1, 6-4, while Berdych defeated Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the late match.

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In a highly entertaining contest filled with baseline rallies, Berdych looked set for a comfortable win when he broke Youzhny early in the second set.

But Youzhny raised his game and immediately broke back, after which the two players held serve until the tie-break. At that point, Berdych moved up a gear, taking a 5-0 lead before sealing his place in Saturday's semifinals.

Berdych now has a 6-6 head-to-head in meetings with Youzhny.

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