Gasquet and Zverev win to set up Open Sud de France final
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) Frenchman Richard Gasquet remains on course for a third straight title at the Open Sud de France, where he will face German teen Alexander Zverev in the final.
The third-seeded Gasquet beat countryman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2 while Zverev prevented an all-French final by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal on Saturday.
Gasquet beat Paire for the fourth time in as many meetings, brushing him aside. He punished Paire's poor serving, converting five of his seven break points.
"I played really well, didn't make any mistakes," said Gasquet, who has 14 career titles.
The 19-year-old Zverev, who is seeded fourth, is considered one of the rising stars of world tennis and recently took 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal to five sets in the third round of the Australian Open.
Zverev saved the only break point of a tight first set and broke the second-seeded Tsonga's serve three times in the second set.
In the decider, Zverev held his serve in a long first game and sealed victory when he broke Tsonga again in the 10th game.
In his two previous matches, Tsonga won 95 and 96 percent of his points on first serve. But against the aggressive Zverev, his average dropped markedly to 76.
"It was a very tough match," Zverev said. "Both of us played really well from the baseline."
Gasquet, ranked 22, has never before faced Zverev, who is ranked 21.
Zverev is going for his second career title after beating three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka last September to win the St. Petersburg Open in Russia.
Updated February 11, 2017