Jo-Wilfried Tsonga claimed his first ATP title since 2015, battling back from a set down to beat David Goffin to win the Rotterdam Open.
Tsonga had lost his last two finals, against Andy Murray in Vienna and Novak Djokovic in Shanghai, but he showed all his battling qualities to come from behind and claim his 13th career single title with a 4-6 6-4 6-1 success in just under two hours.
The 31-year-old will take great heart from turning around a disappointing start with a more aggressive and explosive second half of the match to overpower his Belgian opponent – who remains without a title since September 2014.
World No 11 Goffin lost to Grigor Dmitrov in the Sofia final last week and has now lost his last six finals since beating Tsonga en route to the trophy in Metz.
It was Goffin who dominated the early exchanges with two breaks in the opening five games to open up a 4-1 lead and despite an immediate break back from the Frenchman it was Goffin who claimed the first set.
A much improved Tsonga rallied in the second set and dominated behind a full firing serve and with a 5-4 lead he forced two break points and with it two for the set.
Goffin saved the first before Tsonga wasted the second and after two more went begging a fabulous forehand winner brought up a fifth for the world No 14, who levelled the match with a thumping forehand.
The momentum stayed with Tsonga in the third after comfortably holding serve in the opening game and pounced for a decisive early break to lead 2-0.
With Goffin unable to make any inroads on Tsonga’s serve the Frenchman broke again for a 4-0 lead before reeling off a sixth game in succession to move one away from the title.
Goffin stopped the rot with a comfortable hold, forcing Tsonga to serve it out, and he completed the job in routine fashion including a 10th ace of the match to seal the title and a memorable week.
His defeat of Goffin means he has beaten three players above him in the rankings with Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych dispatched in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
“I’m really happy,” said Tsonga after the match. “The last couple of months I put in a lot of effort to come back to this level.
“It’s a huge reward for me and it gives me new expectations for the rest of the year.
“In the second set, I showed a different mentality on court. I was more aggressive and it made the difference.”
Goffin, meanwhile, will become the first Belgian man to break into the top 10 when the world rankings are published on Monday.
“I was a bit tired,” he said. “I started the final really well but, in the end, Jo played better than me.
“Of course I’m disappointed but I played some good tennis.”
You can follow the next instalment of the ATP Tour with the Rio Open live on Sky Sports – the action gets underway at 7.30pm on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports Mix on Monday.