Tsonga to defend Marseille title against Gulbis

Marseille, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Heavy French crowd favorite Jo- Wilfried Tsonga beat Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the final at the Open 13 indoor hardcourt tennis event for the second consecutive year.

The second-seeded Tsonga grinded out a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 semifinal win over the German Saturday at Marseille's Palais des Sports.

The second double fault by Tsonga in the opening game of the second set gave Struff a break. Tsonga had saved five break points in the first set.

Struff held in the eighth game to go up 5-3, but Tsonga broke twice while claiming the final four games.

The world No. 10 Tsonga beat Czech Tomas Berdych in last year's marquee final to capture a second Marseille title in five years.

Latvian Ernests Gulbis prevented an all-French final with a dominant 6-3, 6-2 win over top seed Richard Gasquet. The third-seeded Gulbis fired 15 aces and did not face a break point.

Both Tsonga and Gulbis will be appearing in their first finals this season.

Tsonga is 10-8 in career title matches, while Gulbis is a perfect 4-0.

The Frenchman won the first three meetings with Gulbis before retiring from their most recent encounter at Wimbledon last year.