Saturday September 1, 2012
Fifth seeded Frenchman suffers worst Grand Slam result since 2007
FRENCH fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first major casualty of the US Open on Thursday when he slumped to a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 defeat to unheralded Slovak Martin Klizan.
Tsonga, who made the quarter-finals in 2011, had come into the final Grand Slam event of the season in a fog of injury and form worries summed up by having to skip the Cincinnati event after cutting his knee on a fire hyrdant.
Not since the Australian Open in 2007 had Tsonga, who had been expected to meet British third seed and Olympic champion Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, lost before the third round in one of the sport’s biggest four tournaments.
Left-hander Klizan, the world 52, progressed to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The Frenchman said: “Today I was not in good shape. I didn’t play good tennis. It seemed like I couldn’t hit the ball hard enough to put my opponent out of position.”
Klizan only won his first career Grand Slam match this year at the French Open, spending his time on the second-tier Challenger tour where he won four titles this year.
But he shrugged off that inexperience on Thursday, firing 32 winners to help offset the 42 unforced errors he sent down in a daring display of attacking tennis.
“He’s like, number six in the world and I beat him,” said Klizan. “This is the best result in my career.”
Elsewhere, Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro fought back to beat Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 while Japan’s 17th seed Kei Nishikori also made the third round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over American qualifier Tim Smyczek.
Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic also reached the third round. The 12th-seed, who has never got past the fourth round in New York, made it with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.
But the 2008 French Open champion is still bothered by a right foot injury which forced her out of the Cincinnati tournament on the eve of the US Open.
Fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic, seeded 30th and the 2008 runner-up, also made the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino. She next meets second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up.
Radwanska almost suffered a fourth successive US Open second-round exit fought hard to beat Spain’s world number 39 Carla Suarez-Navarro 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. — AFP