Tsonga, ranked 15th in the world, had the better of the opening exchanges. He engineered six break points – including a set point – on Goffin’s serve.
But he could not seal the openings. The one opportunity presented to Goffin was gleefully accepted.
It came when he was 6-5 up in the tiebreak. Tsonga’s second serve was aimed towards the Belgian’s back hand. The 26-year-old lashed the ball down the line to force the error from Tsonga.
Goffin beat the top two players in the world Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on his way to the final at the season ending championships in London last week His confidence from those victories was in evidence during key moments.
Penetrating ground strokes forced Tsonga deeper to the back of the court in the second set and he eventually cracked. The Frenchman ceded his service to hand Goffin a 4-2 lead. He held on to take the set 6-3.
"Once he got the first set, he just stayed back and was relaxed, » said Tsonga. « David played really well. I tried to keep with him but he was too good. “There wasn’t very much I could do.”
Goffin admitted his heroics could count for nothing. “I played a good match. It was tough in the first set against Jo. But I started to play much better. I’m really proud of my match.”