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.
Prior to hitting 12 aces to beat De Minaur, Tsonga had overcome Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis and Japanese lucky loser Taro Daniel this week at the ATP 500-level hard-court tournament.
De Minaur, 19, competing at a career-high World No. 31, was the 2018 ATP Newcomer of the Year.