Sat, Oct 29, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Tsonga begins push for World Tour Finals spot

AFP, VIENNA

Austria’s Jurgen Melzer returns to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain on Thursday in their Vienna Open match in Austria.

Photo: Reuters

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.”

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