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October 9, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Tsonga tops Gasquet amid Tokyo typhoon

JO-WILFRIED Tsonga outmuscled fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Japan Open yesterday.

The world No. 1 adjusted well after a shaky start in near unplayable conditions with typhoon winds causing the ball to dip and swerve, and blowing advertising boards across court at Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum.

"The conditions were terrible," second seed Tsonga told reporters.

"It was dangerous. I saw the (advertising) board start to move and thought 'Woah!' You never know what can happen."

Gasquet took the first set when Tsonga missed two routine volleys after struggling to cope with the ball's ever-changing trajectory as Typhoon Melor moved northward across Japan's main island of Honshu.

With the roof finally opened after three days of pouring rain, Tsonga roared back to level the match with some punishing baseline hitting.

An early break in the decider gave Tsonga the edge and he powered away, gaining a security break before closing out victory with a thunderous serve into the corner.

First and last

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt also advanced to the quarters, the eighth-seeded Australian beating Fabrice Santoro 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to end the Frenchman's interest in his first and last Tokyo visit.

The 36-year-old, who will retire at end of the year, bowed out in typically flamboyant style, trying a totally unnecessary forehand through the legs which Hewitt dinked back for a volley winner.

Hewitt plays another Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin next after the world No. 189 followed his shock win over top seed Juan Martin del Potro by beating Austrian Juergen Melzer 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

US Open champion del Potro headed the field at the US$1.25 million hardcourt tournament after world No. 1 Roger Federer and third-ranked Andy Murray pulled out.

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych showed the kind of form that swept him to last year's Tokyo title, the Czech overpowering Germany's Andreas Beck 6-4, 6-1.


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