Tsonga makes winning start at Queen’s
Originally published on 19/06/17 00:00
The 32-year-old remains a delight to watch on grass and he was rarely troubled by Mannarino, who was hampered by an upper back issue. Tsonga is bidding for a fourth title already this year and he will play Gilles Muller or Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round.
"It was a good match,” said the charismatic Frenchman. “I played pretty well in the first set but he came back strong and I had to play my best tennis to get past him. I’m really happy today and really happy to be here in London – especially when the weather is like this.”
Grigor Dimitrov appeared eager to banish the memories of a disappointing clay-court season as he made an impressive start to his campaign. The 2014 champion defeated Ryan Harrison 6-3 6-1 in less than an hour.
The Bulgarian was at his explosive best as he used his court-craft to outmanoeuvre his American opponent and set up a second round clash with James Ward or Julien Benneteau
“I’m very happy to finish the match in that style,” remarked the delighted 26-year-old. “I’m always positive throughout the year but when the grass season comes, I have a different mindset. I know the grass season is too short so I’m just trying to give 100% on the practice court and also during the matches, because you never know how many times you are going to be able to play on the grass.
“Every moment counts, every practice counts as does every match. I’m very happy with my performance so far.”
Donald Young is also through to the second round after his opponent, Nick Kyrgios, retired after the completion of the first set.
The Australian, whose participation at Queen’s Club was in doubt prior to the start of the tournament, took a nasty tumble on the lush grass in the ninth game of the opener. After a lengthy medical timeout for a hip problem, Kyrgios returned to the court however his movement was hampered and he pulled out after dropping the first set in a tiebreak.
“It’s rough to win like that,” admitted Young. “I’m not going to act like I am really happy to get through that way, but at the end of the day, I’m happy to be though to the second round as well."
In the most competitive match of the day, wildcard entry, Denis Shapovalov, upset Kyle Edmund 7-6(4) 4-6 6-4 to secure an important win in his young career.
The last meeting between the two players was shrouded in controversy after the Canadian was disqualified for accidently hitting the umpire in the face with the ball in the Davis Cup. There was no such drama on the sun-baked Centre Court at Queen’s Club this evening, though, however Edmund will be disappointed in the manner he meekly lost his serve in the deciding set.
‘It’s definitely one of the biggest wins of my career,” beamed the 18-year-old who has a bright future. “Kyle is an unbelievable player so it’s just an incredible feeling right now. I’m incredibly happy and thankful to get a wildcard here from Stephen (Tournament Director) and I hope to have a good run here and be back for many years."
Away from Centre Court, Tomas Berdych defeated Steve Darcis 7-5 6-3 and he will be Shapovalov’s second round opponent.