Injured Tsonga crashes out of Japan Open
Tokyo: Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crashed out of the Japan Open in the second round on Wednesday, ambushed 6-4, 7-6 by Croatia`s Ivan Dodig in the tournament`s first major upset.
Top seed Juan Martin del Potro thrashed fellow Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the $1.43 million event in Tokyo before Tsonga, still feeling his way back from a knee injury, was unceremoniously bundled out.
"I`m not shocked by this result," the second-seeded Frenchman told reporters. "This game is difficult enough with two legs. With one and a half it`s complicated."
The world number eight, champion in 2009, retired from the second round at Wimbledon and only returned at Metz a week ago, reaching the final.
He beat fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the first round in Tokyo but never got out of the blocks against Dodig.
"I`m still coming back so it`s never perfect," said Tsonga, his left knee heavily iced. "It`s frustrating but it`s part of the job to accept it`s going to be difficult when you`re not 100 percent. He broke me early and I was always chasing the match."
Dodig`s persistence forced Tsonga into a string of wild misses, the end coming when he dumped a forehand into the net to surrender the second-set tiebreak 7-5 and gift-wrap the Croat a second victory in two meetings.
"Hopefully in the next few weeks I will find my legs," added Tsonga. "The doctors said it would take five months for the pain to go away and it`s been three months so I have to be careful."
A day after surviving a stern test against Cyprus`s Marcos Baghdatis in his first match since a shock second-round exit at last month`s US Open, del Potro looked a different player in his first meeting with countryman Berlocq.
He made 70 percent of his first serves and won 86 percent of those points in a 66-minute rout.
But even the statistics fall short of outlining the gulf in class between world number seven del Potro and his 45th-ranked opponent. A kicking second serve which a deflated Berlocq could only flap into the net summed up a thoroughly one-sided affair.
"I played very solid," the 2009 US Open champion told reporters. "I served well, hit my forehand really well and tried to be aggressive. I played much better than yesterday. I felt I was in control of the whole match."
Recovered from his jet-lag following a 37-hour trip from Argentina to Japan, 2008 finalist del Potro next faces Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who knocked out eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6.
Canada`s Milos Raonic, coming off his fifth career title in Bangkok at the weekend, matched del Potro`s power in a comfortable 6-4, 7-6 first-round win over local Go Soeda.
The third seed belted 24 aces and whitewashed his wildcard opponent 7-0 in the second-set tiebreak.
"I did a lot of things well and buckled down when I needed to," said the world number 11, runner-up to Japan`s Kei Nishikori here last year.