TORONTO - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the only player with Grand Slam wins against each of the Big Four, beating Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in matches at the 2008 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic there in 2010 and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and Roland Garros in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
The Frenchman continued his giant-slaying ways all week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Tsonga, a 29-year-old ace machine, needed just one hour and 24 minutes to book his spot in Sunday's final at the Rexall Centre, ousting world No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov with a 6-4, 6-3 win in Saturday's early semifinal on the stadium showcase court.
The world No. 15 has knocked off three top-10 players on the way to his first Rogers Cup final, having earlier sent top-seeded Djokovic and eighth seed Murray packing.
He awaited either second seed Federer or unseeded Feliciano Lopez in the final.
"I would like to face Roger," Tsonga said. "Just because it's an honour for me to play against him in such a good area. It can be one of the biggest victories for me if I'm able to beat him."
The player some refer to as 'Ali' considering his physical likeness to former boxer Muhammed Ali came into the afternoon match as the tournament's ace leader. He took down Dimitrov with seven to bring his total to 66 this week, simply overpowering his 23-year-old Bulgarian opponent on the service line while also imposing himself with a solid return game and some dazzling forehand winners.
Tsonga saved four break points in the opening set — cranking his hallmark serve to close out the opener — and picked up a pair of breaks in the decisive set.
"He served great. I mean, not much else I could do," said Dimitrov, who played three sets in each of his previous three matches in Toronto and appeared gassed at times. "You have your chances. Today, things were just not leaning on my side."
Dimitrov's coach Roger Rasheed, who previously coached Tsonga, was taking an even-keel approach heading in.
"He's willing to learn, willing to take on the challenges in front of him," Rasheed told QMI Agency earlier this week. "Whatever results come out of that, you can sort of sleep straight at night because you know that he's doing the right things and that gives you a chance."
The youngest player inside the top 10 had few chances against Tsonga, who Sunday will go for his 11th career ATP singles title and first of the year. It would be the first Rogers Cup title by a Frenchman in the Open era.
"I'm waiting for this moment since a couple years now," Tsonga said. "I always believe it myself during all these years. Finally, I get a little rewards."