Tsonga escapes at Thailand Open
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:03
The world number 20, who burst onto the scene in January when he finished as the runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, eventually triumphed 7-6 (11/9) 3-6 7-6 (7/1) against his Czech opponent.
A nagging knee injury and subsequent surgery after the Australian Open sidelined the Frenchman in May and he did not return until last month’s US Open – where he exited in the third round.
Like his performance in Flushing Meadows, Tsonga again looked a bit rusty at this hardcourt event.
He needed two tie-breakers and nearly two hours to defeat Dlouhy, who is ranked 166th in the world. The 23-year-old fired 21 aces, but forced only four break points – winning two – while Dlouhy won three of five break points.
Tsonga’s compatriot, Gael Monfils, joined him in the quarter-finals later in the day with a 6-4 7-6 (7/4) win over American Robert Kendrick.
The fourth seed here, Monfils reached his first grand slam semi-final earlier this year at the French Open and was a quarter-finalist at the Olympics.
In first-round matches, Djokovic’s brother Marko made his ATP main-draw debut on Wednesday but did not have the same success of his top-seeded sibling.
Fifth seed Jarkko Nieminen of Finland had no trouble ousting the Serbian, seizing a 6-2 6-0 victory in 48 minutes.
Nieminen has not advanced past the quarter-finals in any event since his runner-up finish at Adelaide – his first tournament of the year. The world number 33 will next face France’s Nicolas Mahut.