Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came through on the big points to beat fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 7-6 in the final of the South African Open on Sunday.
Tsonga got his only break at the end of the first set when Chardy put a weak backhand into the net and he completed victory by taking the second-set tie-break 7-5.
"It was a really tough final," Tsonga said at a news conference. "Of course, having played in three finals before, I had an edge and because of his inexperience, at 5-4 in the first set he missed some easy shots.
"Now he has that one experience though, and I hope he goes on to do well this season."
Fifth seed Chardy forced four break points in the first game of the second set but Tsonga served strongly when it mattered to see off the threat.
At 5-5 in the tie-break, Tsonga set up match point thanks to a superb return down the line and he took it with a smart volley after coming in on his own second serve.
"My service on important points was the best part of my game," Tsonga said. "It has improved a lot in the last year. I am really confident now on important points and that is how you win titles. It is difficult to break me."