Tsonga, Del Porto reach Open 13 semis
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-5 Friday to reach the semifinals of the Open 13.
The top-seeded Frenchman will next face Juan Martin Del Potro, who edged Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Tsonga served 14 aces and saved 10 break points in an all-French match.
Tsonga dropped serve in the opening game but broke back in the sixth. He hit 18 winners to 11 for Roger-Vasselin to take the first set when his opponent netted a forehand volley.
Roger-Vasselin double-faulted at 6-5 in the next set to give Tsonga two match points. Tsonga converted the first on a forehand error from Roger-Vasselin.
”I didn’t play better than him today,” said Tsonga, the 2009 champion. ”But I was stronger in my head in the key moments.”
Del Potro served 15 aces in a tight match that saw him win just one more point than Gasquet – 78 to 77.
The fourth-seeded Argentine led 3-1 in the last set but Gasquet, a former top-10 player, broke back in the eighth game.
Del Potro then saved a set point at 6-5 to force a tiebreaker before clinching victory with a diving backhand volley.
The 2009 US Open champion whipped a forehand winner to take the first set. He saved two set points at 5-4 with a forehand winner and an ace. In the next game, Gasquet missed a smash to drop serve.
Tsonga was the player with the most aces on the ATP Tour last season, although France has found another hard-serving player in 20-year-old Albano Olivetti.
Olivetti lost to Michael Llodra 7-6 (5), 7-5 in another all-French quarterfinal, but has still left an impression on the home crowd after beating Mardy Fish on Thursday.
The 2.03-meter (6-foot-8) Olivetti hit a serve of 254 kph (158 mph) last year on the Challenger Tour. But Ivo Karlovic of Croatia still holds the world record for the fastest serve with 251 kph (156 mph) as only performances on the ATP tour are taken into account for official records.
However, Llodra outslugged Olivetti with 14 aces to 13 on Friday, and did not face a break point.
”Michael served smartly,” Olivetti said. ”He used very well the slice when serving to my backhand. He was also stronger than me on service returns.”
Olivetti netted a backhand volley at 5-5 to drop serve and Llodra converted his first match point with an ace.
The 388th-ranked Olivetti double-faulted twice in the tiebreaker and Llodra won the first set when Olivetti sent a backhand into the net.
”Those two double-faults cost me dearly,” Olivetti said. ”That’s the reason why I lost the tiebreaker.”
Olivetti made 10 unforced errors in the first set to none for Llodra, the 2010 champion.