Washington DC: heartening wins for Tsonga, Kyrgios

Published by Tennismash / AAP

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Getty Imaages)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga scores his biggest win in two years at Washington DC’s Citi Open while Nick Kyrgios was encouraged by a straight-sets win in the first round.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga upset No.2 seed Karen Khachanov to advance to the last 16 of the ATP Citi Open in Washington DC.

There he joined No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev, sixth seed Marin Cilic, 13th seed Kyle Edmund and No.16 seed Frances Tiafoe, who all scored second-round victories on Tuesday at the 500-level hard court tournament.

Tsonga blasted 44 winners — including 13 aces — en route to his first win over a top-20 player since beating Alexander Zverev in Vienna in October 2017, with the 6-4 2-6 7-5 win setting up a third-round clash with Edmund.

“I played very good tennis, just really happy to go through this one. It’s been a long time since I won against a Top 10 player,” 70th-ranked Tsonga told atptennis.com.

“It’s good for me. It’s good to get some rewards when you’re working well and you play some good matches.”

In early February, Tsonga was ranked No.210, but thanks to the ATP title in Marseille and a win-loss record that has improved to 26-14 following his win over Khachanov, he is back inside the top 100 — and projected to rise to 57th with his third-round run in the US capital.

Later on Tuesday, Nick Kyrgios admitted mental health issues have reduced his playing schedule this year after he fired his way to a first-round win at the Washington Open.

The Australian made a bright start to his campaign in the American capital with a hard-fought 7-5 6-4 victory over qualifier Thai-Son Kwiatkowski.

In his preparation for the US Open — which commences on 26 August — Kyrgios served 15 aces among his 40 winners in an engrossing clash punctuated by big serving and heavy hitting.

“I just competed well today, I played some really good tennis,” Kyrgios said in his on-court interview. “I knew it was going to be a tough, tough match, he’s a great athlete, moves extraordinarily well, so I’m just happy to get through.”

Kyrgios, who started 2019 ranked world No.35, has slid to 52nd after an indifferent year in which his win-loss record stands at 13-10. The 24-year-old explained his lack of match play has been due to off-court issues.

“I haven’t been playing too much tennis, being going through some mental struggles, but super happy with the win,” he said. “I played well today and I just came through.”

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Kyrgios will face 11th seed Gilles Simon next.

“(It’s) the same thing for me every single match. Serve big and play big and back my instincts,” he said.

“That’s the way I’ve been playing my entire career and we’ll see how it goes.”

Kyrgios was the third Aussie to advance to the last 32 on Tuesday after Jordan Thompson and Marc Polmans recorded opening-round wins over Jack Sock and Malek Jaziri respectively.

Their countryman Alexei Popyrin lost to Miomir Kecmanovic.

Also winning through to the second round were Reilly Opelka, Yoshihito Nishioka and Peter Gojowczyk.

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