Djokovic Clinical In Tsonga Win, Now For Shapovalov
Serbian star to play Shapovalov for the first time in third round
The six-time former champion didn’t always fire on all cylinders against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but took his chances and kept the French wild card under pressure in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over two hours and four minutes.
Djokovic admitted there was a lot of tension on court against Tsonga. “Playing on the centre stage against Jo, who I consider [as] one of the greatest rivals that I had throughout my career. We played many thrilling matches, Olympic Games, all over the world, every possible surface… [His] ranking is definitely not showing the right picture of his quality. I'm glad to see him playing. I hope that he can get back where he deserves: at the top of the men's game.”
Djokovic, who hit 33 winners including 12 aces, will next come face-to-face with 19-year-old #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Saturday in the third round, which the Serbian has reached for the 12th time.
“He's very pumped," said Djokovic, when asked about Shapovalov. "He brings a lot of energy to the court, which is great to see. I expect a really interesting encounter. He will not have anything really to lose, so I'm sure he's going to come out really pumped.”
Djokovic made the first move to break for a 3-1 lead, but the fluent stroke-making of Tsonga returned. The Frenchman, who missed seven months of last year due to left knee surgery, evoked memories of his peak-performance days in a competitive second set, which was decided in the 11th game. Djokovic converted his fourth break point chance when Tsonga made a backhand error.
Three straight forehand errors from Tsonga handed Djokovic a 3-2 lead in the third set, which proved to be enough for his 17th win in 23 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings (11-6 on hard courts). Djokovic won the first of his 14 Grand Slam championship trophies with victory over Tsonga in the 2008 final at Melbourne Park.
“One of the biggest lessons that I had to learn is patience, trusting life, trusting the process that things will come, that things will get to a point where I want to be, or where I would like to achieve, or how I want to play. I just needed to trust the process, be patient.
“I was impatient, to be honest, especially after surgery [following last year’s championship]. I was rushing way too early to get back into competitive tennis. I was able to play a month or five weeks after surgery, which was quite fast considering.”