Jo Wilfried Tsonga wins in four against Jack Sock for fourth-round place in Australia - UBITENNIS
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Jo Wilfried Tsonga wins in four against Jack Sock for fourth-round place in Australia

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Tsonga is into the fourth round at the one slam he has reached the final of in the past. (Zimbio.com)

Jo Wilfried Tsonga played a largely composed match against the in-form Jack Sock to progress into the fourth round of the Australian Open, winning 76 75 76. Tsonga edged the first two sets, before a bad error cost him the third. The twelfth seed quickly recovered, breaking early in the fourth, and winning to earn a meeting with either Dan Evans or Bernard Tomic.

Sock had won the Auckland title the week before the tournament began, and had not dropped a set in defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Karen Khachanov. Tsonga had dropped a set against Thiago Monteiro in round one, before a rather more comfortable win in the second against Dusan Lajovic.

The first set went comfortably with serve, as neither man faced break point. Tsonga came closest by forcing a deuce game at four-five, but Sock pulled through without major difficulty.

The inevitable tiebreak saw Tsonga face adversity on the first point. Sock followed an aggressive return into the net, before Tsonga played a perfect lob. Tsonga’s finishing volley then caught a section of the line, despite a challenge from Sock. It proved key as Tsonga then struck a forehand winner on his second shot of the next point, going behind Sock for the mini-break. Tsonga handed the mini-break back when he found the net with a big forehand. Tsonga retrieved the lead with a backhand cross-court passing shot. A forehand error on a net approach from Sock then handed the first set to the Frenchman.

Sock was the first to force pressure in the second set, earning a break point in the first service game. It was to be the only such opportunity that Tsonga offered, though the set was more open than the first, with Tsonga forcing his own break point chances shortly after. It would not be until the penultimate game of the set that fans on Margaret Court Arena would see the first break, as a Tsonga forehand caught Sock off-balance, and another forehand sealed the break. Tsonga gave an exhibition in serving to close out the set to love to leave the American down two sets.

Sock again tried to make headway early in the third, only to be continually denied by the 2008 runner-up. Sock faced a tough deuce game at four-all, but held, as did Tsonga through the rest of the set to force another tiebreak.

Tsonga again took the lead, racing into an early four-love lead with the American’s trademark forehand breaking down. However, Tsonga is known for inconsistencies himself, and allowed Sock back in. The American saved a match point with an ace at five-six, and earned a set point when Tsonga dumped a backhand into the net. Tsonga saved though, and a beautiful touch at the net earned him another match point again against the Sock serve, but could only miss into the tramlines.

Sock then won the set, with a great defensive shot, hoisting the ball up after a attacking Tsonga forehand. Tsonga played the smash a little deeper than the service line, but missed into the net to give the American a lifeline.

Tsonga quickly atoned for the aberrational smash however, breaking Sock immediately in the fourth when the American ripped a forehand into the net. The two parts of Sock’s game that he relied on had broken down in the serve and the forehand. Sock nearly went down a second break, but instead held. He improved his game to really challenge as Tsonga served the match out, forcing a deuce game, but it was ultimately the Frenchman who held firm to reach the fourth round.

In the other early men’s match, Andreas Seppi continued his fine form by knocking out Belgium’s Steve Darcis 46 64 76 76.

 

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Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday with a win over Yannick Hanfmann in Geneva

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Novak Djokovic beat unseeded player Yannik Hanfmann 6-3 6-3 on his 37th birthday to reach the quarter finals at the Geneva Open. Djokovic became just the third player in the Open Era to win 1100 tour-level matches. 

“That really touched me. I am really happy to win on this special day. The key was the birthday. The birthday probably would not be the same if I did not win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family coming here to support as well”, said Djokovic. 

Djokovic earned three break points in the sixth game. The world number 1 player missed consecutive break points, but he converted his third chance with a forehand to take a 4-2 lead. 

Djokovic fended off two break points consolidating the break with a hold for 5-2. The Serbian player hit a forehand drop-shot winner to earn a set point. Hanfmann hit a drop-shot winner to force the game to deuce. Hanfmann earned a break point with a crosscourt winner. Djokovic saved it before earning another break point when Hanfman hit a backhand into the net. 

Djokovic sent a forehand down the line wide to face the fourth break point of the game and the sixth overall. Djokovic hit a backhand winner down the line to force the game to the deuce. Djokovic wasted a set point and had to fend off four break points before the match was interrupted by rain. 

After the match resumed, Djokovic saved a seventh break point and hit consecutive aces to serve out the first set. 

Hanfmann converted his 10th break point to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set. The German player held serve at love to open up a 3-0 lead. Djokovic broke back for 2-3 when Hanfmann sailed a drive. 

Djokovic won four consecutive games breaking serve when Hanfmann hit the net with a backhand. Djokovic sealed the win on his second match point, when Hanfmann hit his running forehand into the net. 

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Flavio Cobolli beats Ben Shelton to reach the quarter final in Geneva

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Flavio Cobolli came back from one set down to beat fourth seed Ben Shelton 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 at the Gonet Geneva Open. Cobolli has scored the second top 20 win of his career.

Shelton started the clay season with his second title in Houston and reached back-to-back third rounds in Madrid and Rome. The US player lost to Zhang Zhizhen in Rome. 

Cobolli reached his first Grand Slam third round at the Australian Open last January. During the clay season the Italian player he reached the third round in Madrid and pushed Sebastian Korda to third round in Rome. He beat Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev in straight sets to set up a second round match against Ben Shelton. 

Shelton earned the only break in the seventh game of the first set to serve it out after 38 minutes. The US player went up a set and a break in the third game and held on his serve to take a 4-2 lead. 

Shelton saved three break points at 4-3 in a marathon eighth game, but Cobolli converted his converted his fourth chance with a well-angled pass to draw level to 4-4. Cobolli rallied from 0-30 down to earn a set point. Shelton saved it with a big serve and held a long service game to force a tie-break. Cobolli earned three mini-breaks and dropped just one point to win the tie-break 7-1. 

Cobolli broke serve in the fourth game and saved two break points in the next game to consolidate. Cobolli broke for the second time in the seventh game after a double fault from Shelton. Cobolli hit an ace to bring up three match points. Shelton saved the first chance but Cobolli converted his second chance with another ace to set up a quarter final against Alexander Schevchenko., who reached the last eight, after Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew from the match due to illness. 

Cobolli scored his first top 20 win against Nicolas Jarry at this year’s Australian Open. 

“This year I have played against a lot of lefties. I like to play lefties and you saw today that I am really happy. It was a difficult match, but I am really happy”, said Cobolli. 

Yannik Hanfmann beat Andy Murray 7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Hanfmann was leading 7-5 4-1 before the match was interrupted by rain. Hanfmann did not face a break point. The German player broke serve in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. He broke serve in the third and fifth games and served out the second set on his second match point. 

Hanfmann set up a second round match against world number 1 Novak Djokovic. Denis Shapovalov won 12 of 13 games from 1-4 down to beat Federico Coria. The Canadian player set up a second round match against Tallon Griekspoor, who beat Christophen Eubanks 6-4 1-6 6-3. 

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Alexander Zverev beats Alejandro Tabilo to reach the third final of his career in Rome

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Akexander Zverev came back from one set down to beat Alejandro Tabilo 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 reaching the third final of his career at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and his first Masters 1000 final since 2022. 

Zverev reached his 11th career Masters 1000 final, equalling his compatriot Boris Becker for most Masters 1000 final appearances by a German man since the series started in 1990.

Tabilo earned a double break point with a forehand drop shot winner. The Chilean player forced an error with a topspin forehand into the corner to earn his first break in the fourth game for 3-1 after just 13 minutes. Tabilo saved two break points to consolidate the break for 4-1. Tabilo held three break points and hit a forehand return winner to break at love for 5-1. The Toronto-born Chilean player closed out the first set with drop-shot winners. He won 10 of the last 12 points of the first set. 

Zverev won his first service game of the second set to stop his losing streak. The German player held serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. 

Zverev double fault to face a break point. He saved it with a big serve and held serve for 4-3 in the seventh game. This year’s Auckland champion Tabilo held serve at love to force the second set to the tie-break. 

Tabilo earned the mini-break after Zverev made his fifth double fault at the start of the tie-break. Zverev pulled back on serve on the third point as Tabilo netted a backhand. Zverev went up a mini-break to take a 4-3 lead after one of the longest rallies of the match. Zverev converted his second set point to force the match the third set. 

Zverev earned three break points in the third game of the decider with a crosscourt backhand. Tabilo saved the first two break points, but Zverev converted his third break point to take a 2-1 lead, as Tabilo made a double fault. 

Zverev backed up the break with an ace to open up a 3-1 lead. Zverev earned a second break in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead and closed out the win with his 10th ace of the match after 2 hours and 17 minutes. 

Zverev will face either Tommy Paul or Nicholas Jarry in the final. The Olympic champion will rise to world number 4 if he wins the Rome Masters 1000 title. 

Tabilo upset Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-3 last Sunday and backed up this win with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (12-10) win over Karen Khachanov in the fourth round. 

“I did not play well, but he was the reason why I did not play well. He came out hitting the ball extremely hard. A lot of dropshots. He was playing extremely aggressive. He did not let me play. I have to give credit to him for not allowing me to play my game”, said Zverev. 

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