Jo-Wilfried Tsonga began his push to ensure a place in the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals when Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen was forced to quit their second-round Austrian Open clash through illness.
Top seed Tsonga, who was 3-6, 6-1, 3-1 ahead at the time, stands at provisional eighth in the race for the Nov. 20 to Nov. 27 World Tour Finals and he has this week and two more to make sure he is in the field.
“It’s the end of a long season and everyone is tired,” said Tsonga, speaking for both himself and Nieminen. “This win is good for me because I will earn some points and hopefully make the finals [in London].”
Tsonga had a poor start as Nieminen won the first set, before the top seed gradually lifted his game.
“It was embarrassing and difficult at the beginning. Jarkko played well, but I got better through the match. Unfortunately, he was not able to continue,” the Frenchman said.
Tsonga next plays Belgian Xavier Malisse, who beat Italian eighth seed Fabio Fognini 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-3 for a place in the semi-finals.
Austrian third seed Jurgen Melzer kept up his recent impressive record at his home event when he defeated Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals.
Two-time champion Melzer has not lost at the Stadthalle since the 2008 quarter-finals against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez and he next faces South African Kevin Anderson for a spot in the semi-finals.
Melzer fired seven aces in his 83-minute win against the six double faults of Garcia-Lopez, breaking in the final game of the first set and running away with the second.
German veteran Tommy Haas also made the quarter-finals when he beat Slovenian 204th-ranked unknown Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
German Daniel Brands joined Haas in advancing as he upset Czech fourth seed Radek Stepanek 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
There was an anti-climax for Austrian teenager Dominic Thiem as the youngster, who ended the career of former world No. 1 and 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster in the first round, lost to Belgian Steve Darcis 6-2, 6-2.
ST PETERSBURG OPEN
AP, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Alex Bogomolov Jr of the US and Marin Cilic of Croatia both won three-set matches to advance to the quarter-finals of the St Petersburg Open on Thursday, while eighth-seeded local favorite Dmitry Tursunov was eliminated in straight sets in the second round.
The seventh-seeded Bogomolov Jr beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, while fourth-seeded Cilic rallied to oust Somdev Devvarman of India 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Tursunov lost to Potito Starace of Italy 6-2, 6-4.
In his second consecutive quarter-final appearance in two weeks, Bogomolov Jr will play Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic, who recovered to beat Israeli wild-card Dudi Sela 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Later, second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, who won his second career title in Moscow last Sunday, advanced to the quarter-finals of the event for the third time after Michael Berrer of Germany retired with an illness when trailing 6-3, 2-0.
Tipsarevic is scheduled to play Starace next.
Bogomolov Jr is making his debut at a second consecutive event in Russia after reaching the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup last week.
“It was a good match,” Bogomolov Jr said. “He received perfectly when I was serving for the match at 5-3 up and broke me. I was lucky when he double-faulted on second match point.”
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on