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joyful rogger fedder

Monday, June 22, 2009

tsonga stretched to the limit

Photo Titled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The new No. 2 Court witnessed a thriller as ninth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled through his first round match against Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev, a man ranked 62 places below him, in four sets, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5).

The tie-break in the third set saw some Tsonga magic as he raced around the ball to drive a winning forehand across the court. This was followed by another racing backhand to gain a mini-break.

The fourth set also went to a tie-break. Tsonga clearly moved up a gear as he scented victory, hitting a Spitfire-fast “full toss” forehand return and following it up with a nifty net approach to volley a cross-court winner.

This was one of the longest matches on court today at three hours, 21 minutes, and it was a relieved Tsonga who broke into a beaming grin, skipped across the court and thanked the crowd after he secured victory.

An even longer match occurred on court 18 as Feliciano Lopez became the second seed to go out of the men’s tournament, following James Blake’s earlier exit to Andreas Seppi. The Spanish No.21 seed was beaten in a marathon five- setter 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 by Karol Beck of Slovakia in three hours, 45 minutes.

Rainer Schuettler is no stranger to long matches at the All England Club either since he overcame Arnaud Clement in more than five hours last year. His victory today, in four sets, 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, over Xavier Malisse was slightly more comfortable, taking just two hours 57 minutes.

In the ladies’, Jie Zheng is safely through to the second round. Zheng, from Chengdu in China, stunned Ana Ivanovic in the third round last year before bowing out in the semi-finals. Another run could be on the cards after the 16th seed disposed of Germany’s Kristina Barrois in twin tie-breaks, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4). Zheng faces Daniela Hantuchova, conqueror of junior champion Laura Robson in the second round.

Russian Alla Kudryavtseva stunned the tennis world when she knocked out her compatriot Maria Sharapova last year in the third round. But she was unable to repeat the feat against countrywoman Elena Dementieva this time. No.4 seed Dementieva barely had to break sweat as she won 6-4, 6-1.

Russian Nadia Petrova, a quarter-finalist here last year, comfortably saw off the challenge of Anastasiya Yakimova 6-1, 6-1. India's Sania Mirza moved into the second round after beating Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Victoria Azarenka has won three titles already this year, and she benefited from an injury to her opponent Severine Bremond Beltrame who retired hurt. Azarenka had already taken the first set 6-2 when the Frenchwoman Bremond Beltrame was forced to retire after spraining her knee in a fall.

Another tight game followed on Court 3 saw the first female seed to depart. Francesca Schiavone of Italy came back from a set down to knock out Canadian No.23 seed Aleksandra Wozniak 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

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