Tsonga Shows Persistence In Montpellier Thriller
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled into the semi-finals of the Open Sud de France on Friday for the third consecutive year, outlasting compatriot Jeremy Chardy in Montpellier 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-4. It is the former World No. 5’s second semi-final of the season (also Brisbane) after reaching the last four just once from six tournaments in 2018 as he struggled with a knee injury.
"Today was a tough match, really tight. We had to play two tie-breaks in the first two sets and then I came back strong in the third," said Tsonga, who earned the only break of the match in the final game, on his 13th opportunity. "Finally he gave me a few points in the end and I'm in the semi-finals."
While Tsonga is the No. 210 player in the ATP Rankings, he is showing some of the level that has helped him claim 16 ATP Tour titles. The 33-year-old also came from a set down in his opener against #NextGenATP Ugo Humbert, before upsetting fourth seed Gilles Simon in straight sets.
Both players combined to save the first 15 break points of the match. Chardy fended off the most trouble, nixing Tsonga’s first 12 break chances. The sixth seed consistently stepped into the court to dominate those pressure-filled rallies with his forehand, giving Tsonga few opportunities to work his way into points by pushing the wild card deep behind the baseline.
But at the 13th time of asking, Tsonga ran around his backhand to return a second serve with his forehand, eliciting a reply into the net to end the battle after two hours and 44 minutes. Tsonga now leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-1.
"I'm really happy with my level," Tsonga said. "I hope I will be able to play a good match tomorrow."
The home favourite will next face Moldova's Radu Albot, who defeated Cypriot qualifier Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 7-6(2), to reach his second tour-level semi-final. Fittingly, the World No. 90's first trip to the last four of an ATP Tour event also came in France, last year in Metz.