Published: Tuesday August 7, 2012 MYT 4:53:00 PM
Chardy to face Tsonga after opening Toronto win
TORONTO: Frenchman Jeremy Chardy will clash with third-seeded compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of the Toronto Masters after putting out American Donald Young 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 on Monday.
The first match of the post-Olympic tournament marked the 16th consecutive defeat for Young, who has not claimed a victory on the ATP since last February.
Chardy needed nearly two and a quarter hours to get past the number 84 Young, who was somehow given a place on the US Olympic team only to lose his opening match against Italian Andreas Seppi.
The French winner, ranked 47th, earned his 16th win of the season. He lost his only previous meeting with Tsonga in Johannesburg in 2009.
"It will be tough to play against Jo, he's been doing so well recently," said the challenger. "He's a good friend of mine. "I can only go out and try to play my game."
Chardy notched seven aces but also six double-faults in his win over the luckless Young, who was once tipped by John McEnroe as the future of the US game. Chardy broke six times on the way into the second round.
Due to the weekend Olympic finish in London, all 16 seeds in the field have been given first-round byes. The final is also scheduled for Sunday evening so as not to clash with the Games closing ceremonies.
But tournament officials have still been hit with pullouts, notably world number one Roger Federer and the injured Rafael Nadal. Also missing is American Andy Roddick (shoulder) and chronically injured French player Gael Monfils (knee).
Toronto tournament officials can only hope that Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray and beaten semi-finalist Novak Djokovic will honour their commitments to play.
Murray has given notice that while he will arrive in Canada on Tuesday, any decision to actually take to the court a day later will depend on how he feels.
"With Toronto, the plan is to go there and play," the Scot said amid his Olympic celebrations. "I was meant to be leaving London on Monday afternoon but due to media commitments, it looks like I'll have to leave on Tuesday."
The big names would cop fines if they do not play, which hardly matter in the grand scheme of preparing for the US Open starting in three weeks.
"It's not ideal but tennis has its rules," said Murray, the 2009-10 Canadian champion. "I'll be there for sure. Whether I play or not, I'll have to see how my body feels."
Djokovic, replaced last month by Federer at the top of the ATP rankings, has champion's points to defend.
Canadian Milos Raonic earned the 16th seeding due to withdrawals. But even the local hero is not convinced that less is more this week in the field.
"I have to play against those guys and win against those (top) guys.
Those opportunities are missing and especially here, where I grew up and play well, it's a little disappointing," he added.
"Tennis is played all over the world and all of us have had moments with tight schedules."
"I've only been on the tour two years but I've gone back-to-back from San Jose to Memphis, which is nine hours of travel, you just deal with it. You try to get past those first few days and you know it's just going to get better and better." - AFP