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Two out of Six Frenchmen advance

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Originally published on: 21/01/12 09:55

There were no less than 6 Frenchmen through to the 3rd round of the 2012 Aussie Open and all of them are in the top half of the draw so played Saturday.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga defeated Frederico Gil 62 62 62. The ebullient Frenchman celebrated with his trademark three twists followed by a one footed leap in the air, quite a sight given his orange adidas attire.

In defeating the No.9 seed Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets 63 63 61, Richard Gasquet booked his place in the round of 16 for the first time in Melbourne. Not bad for the 25 year old who has had his share of injury, most recently an elbow injury sustained after the US Open.

Talking exclusively to tennishead after his match he thinks that he still has some great tennis to play and he likes playing here in Melbourne and particularly on Margaret Court Arena “ I have some good memories of playing on this court”. In 2009 you may recall he played an epic third round match here against Fernando Gonzales, which he lost 12-10 in the fifth set. Tennishead magazine subscribers will be able to read the full interview with Gasquet in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

And while we chatted with Gasquet on the roof of the Broadcast centre, his compatriot Gael Monfils lost the first set against Mikhail Kukushkin. Monfils took a medical time out after the first set and returned looking refreshed but failed to win the second. So he was 26 57 down and the words of Gasquet were ringing in our ears, that Monfils can win five set matches. A quick look at the stats confirmed that, Gael’s record going into this match was 9-3 win loss in his five setters. Did he know that Kukushkin’s was the same percentage but with no losses at 3-0? The man from Kazakhstan won 62 75 57 16 64.

There was not much joy for Nicolas Mahut on Rod Laver Arena. Novak Djokovic defeated the Frenchman who was celebrating his 30th birthday gving him only two games 60 61 61. Julien Benneteau fared better against Kei Nishikori but was defeated in four sets 64 76 76 63 and had to have the trainer on to massage his right shoulder.

So, that left 31 year old Frenchman Michael Llodra who was scheduled to take on Andy Murray for the first night match on Hisense Arena. Murray prevailed in three sets 64 62 60.

And for the record, other French players in action today included Marion Bartoli who was defeated by Zheng Jie 63 63 and legends doubles pairing Guy Forget and Henri Leconte who beat Darren Cahill and Richard Fromberg 61 64. Cedric Pioline played alongside Mansour Bahrami against Pat Cash and Goran Ivanisevic.

Stephanie Foretz Gacon successfully teamed up with Petra Cetskovka for the women’s doubles to defeat the Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. French woman Kristina Mladenovic partnered Petra Martic but was defeated by Su-Wei Hsieh and Galina Voskoboeva.

So, at the end of Saturday there are two of the six Frenchmen through to the fourth round. That is 30% of the men who began the day although you may recall there were 15 at the start of the week.

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