Sat, Oct 24, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Tsonga loses ground with Erste defeat

GOOD POSITION:Spain’s David Ferrer solidified his eighth-place position to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

AFP, VIENNA

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2011 Vienna champion, lost ground in his race for a place at the ATP World Tour Finals in London after going down 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Lukas Rosol on Thursday in the second round of the Erste Bank Open.

The Frenchman, who started the week in provisional ninth place for the eight-man finals next month at the O2 Arena in London, all but admitted that his chances are gone after tasting defeat against the Czech player, four days after losing the Shanghai Masters final against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

“Today, I didn’t play good enough to win. I tried, but things did not work for me,” Tsonga said.

The former Australian Open finalist said that he can accept the fact that he will likely not earn a spot in London, although he could well make the trip as a well-paid alternate.

“I’m not sad, three weeks ago I was 24th in the race,” said Tsonga, who only began his season in mid-March due to injury. “It’s important for me to take every point that I can, but I won’t be playing until Paris Bercy [starting on Nov. 2], I now have some time to rest. I just hope to be more consistent in 2016 and stay healthy.”

The defeat strengthened the hand of David Ferrer, who spent a mere 62 minutes in delivering a crushing 6-1, 6-1 defeat to fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to stay in the thick of the London points chase in eighth place, with the last two spots in the field still to be claimed.

The top seed, who lost the final in Vienna a year ago at the Stadthalle to British No. 1 Andy Murray, is now on the brink of a place in the English capital.

Kei Nishikori, who is in seventh place, is not playing this week. He leads Ferrer by 455 points, with a title at the revitalized Vienna event worth 500 points.

Nishikori later withdrew with an existing shoulder injury from next week’s tournament in Basel and could be in danger of not qualifying due to his inactivity.

“Of course I have pressure, but I’m in a good position,” said Ferrer, winner of four titles this year, who missed three months of the season with an elbow injury. “There is more pressure on the others. I played a much better match today after adapting to the conditions. I had no mistakes, but I’m only in the quarter-finals. To earn the title I have to win three more matches.”

The Spaniard won with five aces to the same number of double faults for Garcia-Lopez, with Ferrer breaking five times.

Ferrer, 33, takes a perfect 15-0 record over Fabio Fognini into his quarter-final after the Italian eighth seed advanced 6-1, 6-4 against Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.

South African second seed Kevin Anderson used 15 aces to good advantage in a 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 7-5 comeback win over Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic to next take on Steve Johnson of the US, a 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4 winner over Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz.

Rosol next faces sixth seed Gael Monfils of France, who defeated Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 6-4.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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