Jet-lagged Tsonga defeated

2012-01-11 10:20
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (File)

Melbourne - A jetlagged Jo-Wilfried Tsonga paid the price for a flight halfway round the world on Wednesday as he lost his Kooyong Classic opener in straight sets to Austria's Jurgen Melzer.

The eight-man Kooyong tournament, where players face three matches in the space of four days, is a key warm-up for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.

Tsonga recorded the best grand slam performance of his career when he reached the Australian Open final in 2008 but admitted he had not adjusted to the time difference from Doha, where he won the Qatar Open on Saturday.

Canadian Milos Raonic, who arrived from Chennai after winning the Indian event, lost 6-1, 6-2 to American Mardy Fish. He withdrew a few hours later, citing exhaustion and was to be replaced in the draw by Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Tsonga's 6-4, 6-3 defeat in cold and blustery conditions drops the French world number six into the relegation round.

"I'm not feeling very well. I still have jetlag. We train a lot and we all want to be ready for the Open. Today was difficult with the conditions," said Tsonga.

"It is difficult to play in the wind. I'm not used to it anymore. I play most of my matches in big stadiums where there is little wind. When we return to conditions like this, it's difficult for us."

Tsonga had beaten the 30-year-old Melzer in both of their two previous meetings, both in 2008.

"We had really tough conditions but when the wind wasn't blowing I hit some good shots," said Melzer. "It's always good to get a win over a top 10 guy.

"I had some good form today. I hope to keep it up this week and straight through to the Open."

Tsonga's countryman Gael Monfils, the losing finalist in Doha, came up a winner as he beat three-time Kooyong champion Andy Roddick 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3). He will next play Bernard Tomic.

"It was a tough match, very windy," said Monfils, Kooyong runner-up last year. "I stayed focused and won it. This is good Australian Open preparation. Andy is always tough, this was a good match."

Australian 19-year-old Tomic, ranked 37th, began living up to local expectations as he bids to fill the shoes of fading hero Lleyton Hewitt, scoring a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Czech Tomas Berdych.

He also struggled with the wind, calling the game he had to play on court "not tennis."

"It's good to play in the wind before the Australian Open," said the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist. "I had to just slice and try to keep the ball in the court. The winner is going be the guy who can do that, but anything can happen.

"I played well, I'm happy, I'll take a lot out of this week. It's the most serious exhibition you can have, it's not a show. It was a good match for preparation," Berdych said.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.