Updated: Monday, 24 February 2014 03:34 | By Agence France-Presse

Gulbis wins Marseille Open

Latvia's Ernests Gulbis defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in the final of the ATP Marseille Open on Sunday.


Gulbis wins Marseille Open

Latvia's Ernests Gulbis looks at his trophy after defeating France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their Open 13 ATP tennis tournament final match on February 23, 2014 in Marseille, southern France - by Bertrand Langlois

The world number 23 edged a tight first set against the defending champion before dominating the second.

It was a fifth career title for Gulbis, who reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam last week.

Long seen as a potential top-10 player, Gulbis has so far failed to deliver in a career that has seen him defeat the best but also lose to far less-talented players.

This year, however, the 25-year-old has been much more consistent, reaching the quarter-finals in Doha before losing to Rafael Nadal and the semi-finals in Rotterdam where he lost to Thomas Berdych.

The win over Tsonga was the third straight over French opposition for Gulbis at Marseille, having defeated Nicolas Mahut in the last eight and Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals.

Tsonga did put up more of a fight than Gasquet, who lost 6-3, 6-2, especially in a hotly-contested opening set, which the Latvian pocketed thanks to a storming start to the tie-break.

Gulbis then grabbed an early break in the second and hung on despite showing signs that he was having back pain.

"I played as well as I can do today," he said. "I felt nervous this morning, but it was a good kind of nerves and it has been a very good weekend.

"This victory will get me into the world top 20, I know, but my objective is not just to get into the top 20. I want to be the number one.

"The best players in the world don't like playing against me. I know that I scare them."

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