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French trio march on

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:15

Tsonga’s 6-4 6-2 1-6 6-1 win against Dudi Sela set up a date with James Blake, who dropped his first set of the tournament against Igor Andreev in a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 win.

Monfils and Simon, who have both reached the last 16 in Melbourne for the first time, will face each other in the next round.

Monfils progressed courtesy of a 6-4 6-3 7-5 victory against Nicolas Almagro while Simon moved on thanks to a 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 6-2 triumph over Mario Ancic.

Tsonga, last year’s runner-up, was on good form out on Rod Laver Arena, interspersing the baseline battle with trips to the net and some well-executed lobs.

Fernando Verdasco’s red-hot form has earned him a tie against either Andy Murray or Jurgen Melzer, who meet in the night session.

Verdasco took one hour 50 minutes to thrash 22nd seed Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-0 6-0.

Verdasco, who has dropped just 12 games in his three matches to date, fired 34 winners past the Czech who also contributed to his downfall with 39 unforced errors.

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