Tennis: Cautious Tsonga aiming for Djokovic

Reuters, Monday 4 Jun 2012

Having just secured his maiden French Open quarter-final spot, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga threw the gauntlet down to world number one Novak Djokovic on Monday but did not exactly sound full of confidence


The French fifth seed spent just 26 minutes on court on Monday to wrap up a 6-4 7-6 3-6 3-6 6-4 fourth-round win against Swiss 18th seed Stanislas Wawrinka after the match was interrupted by dusk on Sunday.

"I have the feeling I spent more energy today in four games than yesterday," Tsonga told a news conference after he set-up a last-eight showdown with Djokovic.

"But I will be ready tomorrow, ready to throw myself into the battle like a lion."

World number five Tsonga, who again relied on his booming forehand to see off Wawrinka in a four-hour battle, has a 5-5 record against Djokovic although he has not beaten the Serb since 2010 in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open..

"It's not a good stat. If you look at the last matches, I did not win that much," said Tsonga, who has lost his last three encounters with Djokovic.

"I used to beat him because he was not as strong as he is today. He has improved a lot in the past two years, he has matured.

"He now dictates the points with his forehand more than he used to."

Tsonga, who was beaten 7-5 6-1 by Djokovic last month in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters, is hoping the pressure on his opponent will balance up the contest.

"I think for him it's tougher because he needs to win. I got my best result here so from now on everything will be positive," he explained.

Djokovic is gunning to become only the third man, and the first since 1969, to hold all four grand-slam titles simultaneously.

"Of course, I will be free on the court because I have nothing to lose against this player who is number one in the world," said Tsonga.

"Maybe I'll play from the baseline but in order to better come inside the court, because it's important for me to unsettle him," he added.

"To do that, I'll have to play deep. I'll have to use my returns. It's going to be important for me to sometimes play from the back of the court to try and make him leave his lines."

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