News24

Tsonga downs Mello

2012-01-19 07:33

Melbourne - Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is eyeing another deep run at the Australian Open after storming into the third round in Melbourne on Thursday.

The French sixth seed, runner-up when Novak Djokovic claimed the first of his four grand slam titles here four years ago, blasted out Brazil's Ricardo Mello 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours on Hisense Arena.

The athletic Tsonga, who improved his Australian Open record to 19-5, will face Frederico Gil in the last 32 after the Portuguese eliminated Spanish 26th seed Marcel Granollers in four sets. Tsonga is 2-0 against Gil.

Tsonga said now he is injury-free he is expecting to have a good tournament in the year's opening grand slam.

"Physically, I feel really good. Last year it was difficult for me because I was a bit injured. This year I don't have injury, so I feel good," he said.

"We'll see in the next match, but I'm in a good shape. I hope and I expect to play a good tournament."

The Australian Open is statistically Tsonga's best grand slam with runner-up, semi-final and quarter-final appearances in his five trips to Melbourne.

Tsonga said he was favoured by the slower hardcourt surface in Melbourne.

"Maybe the conditions are good for me. It's pretty warm. The surface is not really quick, so maybe it's good for my game," he said.

"I play well here all the time, and it's good for me."

Tsonga has come to Australia without a coach but he said was getting by with the help of other players in the locker room.

"Yeah, there are some guys with who I can talk and get some advice," he said. "I'm not alone. I have people who help me."


AFP