Tsonga edges Raonic in another marathon
INDIAN WELLS, California (AFP) –
Eighth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells on Wednesday with a three-set victory over Milos Raonic in a rematch of their record-breaking Olympic tussle.
France’s Tsonga needed one hour and 54 minutes to get past the Canadian 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, moving through when Raonic, known for his booming serve, delivered a double-fault on the first match point.
The two met in the first round at the London Olympics, with Tsonga winning 6-3, 3-6, 25-23 — the third set the longest recorded in Games history.
Raonic’s serve also deserted him at the crucial moment of the second set. Neither player had been broken, but he was unable to force a tiebreaker as he dropped his serve in the 12th game and send the match to a third set.
Tsonga will face either World No. 1 Novak Djokovic or American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals of the combined ATP Masters and WTA tournament.
Querrey is the last man to beat the Serbian star — back on October 31 at the Paris Masters.
Since then Djokovic has put together a 20-match winning streak and won a fourth career Australian Open title as well as the ATP title in Dubai.
Djokovic didn’t attach much importance to the loss to Querrey, noting that the indoor surface was very different from the conditions they would encounter on the hard courts of the California desert.
“Different circumstances and conditions,” he said.
Defending champion and second seed Roger Federer takes on fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka for a quarter-final berth.
Federer, a four-time winner of the Indian Wells title, is bidding for his first title of 2013.
Federer is projected to face old foe Rafael Nadal in what would be a tasty quarter-final.
Nadal is seeded fifth as he plays his fourth tournament since returning from a seven-month injury absence and faced a potentially tricky fourth-round match against qualifier Ernests Gulbis.
The 24-year-old Latvian is on a hot streak. He became the first qualifier to win an ATP title this year when he triumphed at Delray Beach prior to Indian Wells. Since he came through qualifying here his seeded victims have included No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic and No. 20 Andreas Seppi.
World No. 3 Andy Murray faces unseeded Argentinian Carlos Berlocq, with the winner advancing to meet either seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro or German veteran Tommy Haas.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson was the first man to punch his quarter-final ticket, with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 victory over 13th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Anderson, who had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in January, was one of three unseeded players remaining in the fourth round.
In the quarter-finals, he’ll face either sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych or 10th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France.
Two women’s quarter-finals were on tap, including a rematch of last year’s French Open final between Maria Sharapova and Sara Errani.
Russia’s Sharapova defeated the Italian at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam.
Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fifth seed, faced Russian Maria Kirilenko for a semi-final spot.