Tsonga sneaks past Gulbis in Bangkok
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46
Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a shaky star to the defence of his Thailand Open crown with a tricky 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 7-6(2) win over Ernests Gulbis to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The Frenchman, who had received a bye in the first round, had to dig deep in a tense, big serving two-hour match, hitting 20 aces to the Latvian’s 23.
The world No.7 will meet Marco Chiudinelli in the last eight after the Swiss ended former world No.1 Marat Safin’s bid for career-ending glory.
The Russian continued his miserable run of form as he heads towards retirement, going down 6-3 7-6(4), and insisted that the defeat still hurt.
“I’m a little disappointed. It should have gone the other way,” said the 29-year-old Russian, who will end his career at the Paris Masters next month.“I missed a volley and then let it slip away.
“I may be retiring, but I still want to win. I don’t want to give away any matches. I really hate to lose.”
No.2 seed Gilles Simon shrugged off a persistent knee problem to seal a 6-2 6-2 win over American Kevin Kim and book his place in the quarter-finals after nearly a month on the sidelines.
The Frenchman, who has not played since retiring injured at the US Open last month, posted 11 aces to seal an impressive comeback win.
“I didn’t know what to expect but I played a good match,” Simon said afterwards. “My knee is still shaky but I tried not to think about it. I can play today, but sometimes, it’s painful.”
Towering American John Isner recovered from a sluggish start to book his place in the last eight with a 7-6 6-4 win over Mischa Zverev. He will face No.4 seed Viktor Troicki in the last eight.
“At least I’m not falling asleep in the locker room like I did the first few days here,” said Isner, who has struggled with jetlag on his first outing at an Asian event.
“This is a slow court but I like it just fine. I feel I can serve through any court. The surface just gives me more time to prepare my shots.”
Andreas Beck also progressed after beating American lucky-loser Donald Young 6-1 6-7(3) 6-4 and faces Jurgen Melzer on Friday.