Read & Watch: Impressive Tsonga Ousts De Minaur In Brisbane
French star to face Medvedev on Saturday
Match by match, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is rebuilding his confidence and starting the new year with a bang. The Frenchman, who missed seven months of last season due to left knee surgery, booked his place in the Brisbane International semi-finals on Friday.
Tsonga, currently No. 239 in the ATP Rankings but using a protected ranking of No. 34, competed with great discipline and power to knock out seventh-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-6(2) in one hour and 46 minutes.
“I played a great match,” said Tsonga. “I expected something like this before the match because I saw him play a few times. He’s a very good player. We have completely different games [and] it was good tennis. I’m just really happy with the way I played and I hope I will do better in the next round again.”
The 33-year-old Tsonga, who went 5-7 in 2018, will next challenge fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev on Saturday. Tsonga will be bidding for a place in his 29th tour-level final (16-12 record) and first since October 2017 at the Erste Bank Open 500 (l. to Pouille), while France’s Jeremy Chardy takes on second seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in the other semi-final.
Tsonga started with aggressive intent to break #NextGenATP De Minaur in the first game. De Minaur soon settled his nerves and got back to 2-2 when a powerful Tsonga forehand hit the net cord and dropped wide. Yet Tsonga, who hit 14 winners in the 42-minute opener, broke for a 5-4 advantage with a backhand winner down the line.
Tsonga recovered from 0/40 at 2-3 in the second set, then De Minaur saved two break points in the next game. The set was decided by a tie-break, which turned in Tsonga’s favour at 2/2 when the Frenchman struck a forehand passing shot — the first of five straight points to complete victory.
De Minaur, 19, competing at a career-high World No. 31, was the 2018 ATP Newcomer of the Year.