Doha: Third-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga used his Qatar Open second-round clash with Italian outsider Flavio Cipolla as a chance to experiment with serve and volley and the tactic worked well enough to earn the Frenchman a 7-6 6-3 victory on Wednesday.
Tsonga battered down consecutive aces and well as ferocious ground shots to hold his own serve in the early games but once he had a foothold he became more adventurous in his bid to give him the tools needed to win his first Grand Slam title.
"I`m trying to find something to play against the big four," he said in a court-side interview. "I try to improve my game. I need something different than them to be better. I will try to go to the net more."
On court in Doha, the world number six also appeared troubled by the swirling wind, gesticulating to the sky after hitting a wide backhand in one game and gifting his opponent two points with sliced backhands into the net in the next.
He compounded those errors with shanked forehands that sailed high to give Cipolla, 28, the game and a 4-3 lead.
The Italian then held serve to love, a feat Tsonga matched to make it 5-4, with Cipolla now serving for the set.
He blew his chance though as Tsonga broke back immediately before winning an enthralling tiebreak 10-8 after Cipolla twice failed to convert set points.
Tsonga broke immediately in the second set, rushing to the net to play a drop shot a despairing Cipolla could only scoop wide and the Frenchman made it a double break to take a 4-1 lead en route to the straight-sets win.