Tennis

Tsonga sends Nadal crashing

2011-11-25 06:36
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (AFP)

London - Rafael Nadal crashed out of the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday as France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-3 in a thrilling shoot-out for a place in the semi-finals.

World number two Nadal had to win his final Group B match to join Roger Federer and David Ferrer in the last four at London's O2 Arena, but last year's runner-up bowed out after his second successive defeat in the season finale.

Tsonga's victory means he will play the winner of Group A in Saturday's semi-finals, while Nadal -- who is yet to win this tournament -- will return home to rest his aching limbs before leading Spain's challenge in the Davis Cup final against Argentina.

With Federer safely through as group winner and Mardy Fish already eliminated it was a straight fight between Nadal and Tsonga to qualify alongside the Swiss star.

Nadal had won six of his eight meetings with Tsonga, but the Frenchman could take heart from his previous meeting with Nadal in London, which he won at Queen's Club earlier this year.

Tsonga's cause was also helped by Nadal's late season fatigue. The 10-time Grand Slam winner suffered one of the more comprehensive defeats of his career on Tuesday when Roger Federer routed him 6-3, 6-0 and he admitted he has been feeling the strain of a gruelling campaign.

Right from the first point, it was clear Tsonga would try to keep Nadal at bay by serve-volleying whenever possible. It was a tactic that worked beautifully.

Tsonga was never threatened on his own serve and the only break-points fell to the Frenchman in the fourth game, although he was unable to convert them as Nadal displayed all his battling qualities.

It was fitting that such a high-quality set needed a tie-break to settle it and Tsonga was finally able to edge in front as his brilliantly cushioned volley secured a 4-2 lead.

Nadal had no response and Tsonga seized his chance, firing down an ace to take the set.

However much Nadal has been feeling the strain of late, he rarely throws in the towel and he kept fighting in a tense second set that exploded into life in the 10th game.

Nadal had three set points on Tsonga's serve but looked to have blown his chance as the Frenchman saved them all. However Nadal kept pressing and secured a fourth set point. This time Tsonga cracked, sending a forehand wide to concede the set.

Crucially the often erratic Tsonga didn't lose his cool and he hit back quickly to earn three break points in the third game of the final set.

Nadal saved one but a miscued forehand on the second gave Tsonga the breakthrough.

Tsonga looked home and dry when he broke again to move 5-2 ahead, yet the Frenchman double-faulted on break point as he tried to serve out the match.

That gave Nadal a glimmer of hope which was swiftly snuffed out as Tsonga regained his composure to break for the last time.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Wawrinka wins in Monte Carlo

2014-04-20 18:04

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

 
 
English Premiership flutter

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

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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